As consumers increasingly seek out healthier food options, the demand for plant-based pizza toppings continues to rise. According to research conducted by NPD, about 20% of consumers said they want to increase the amount of plant-based proteins in their diet.
By choosing plant-based replacements, pizzerias can satisfy all palates and diets while continuing to do what they do best: make delicious pizzas.
Why choose plant-based alternatives?
Plant-based alternatives gained popularity over the past few years due to their wider accessibility. With about 65% of the world’s population developing difficulty digesting lactose, plant-based cheese swaps became a necessity for many restaurants.
With a focus on simple plant-based swaps, pizzerias have the opportunity to offer unique and delicious menu items to an expanded market of pizza lovers — including vegans, diary-free dieters, and lactose-intolerant people. Aside from those who can’t eat traditional dairy products, many people have made the shift to plant-based alternatives for personal health reasons.
Diets continue to change as studies show 79% of millennials and Gen Z-ers already embrace plant-based foods. This can translate to more sales for your pizzeria: International food chain Papa John’s saw an 81% rise in plant-based pizza orders from 2019 to 2020, proving a wider menu attracts new business and addresses a gap in the market.
Easy plant-based alternatives for pizzeria recipes
Pizzerias can easily expand their menus using simple plant-based swaps to offer a wider variety of items to customers.
Pizzas and flatbreads Many companies have begun searching for ways to get involved with the plant-based food movement, with 56% of manufacturers planning to invest in plant-based products in 2022.
Sauces, cheese, and certain crusts often contain lactose, causing issues for those with dietary restrictions. However, plant-based replacements can substitute traditional ingredients on pizzas and flatbreads so consumers can enjoy them regardless of health restrictions. With simple plant-based swaps, pizzerias can expand their offerings with unique new options — such as a wild mushroom, caramelized onion, and spinach pizza or a fig and arugula flatbread.
Incorporating exciting, vibrant flavors into plant-based alternative menu options remains a great way to appeal to new audiences and existing customers by diversifying your menu.
Calzones Pizzerias can adapt pizza recipes to calzones for a unique twist. By creating a dough without dairy products, pizzerias open the door to a world of new recipes fit for all.
Chefs can get creative with calzone recipes — consider offering options such as a plant-based Philly cheesesteak calzone with mushrooms, peppers, onions, plant-based beef or sausage, and plant-based cheddar-style cheese. Additional menu items could also include staples like a meatball and cheese calzone using plant-based beef and mozzarella-style cheese, or a breakfast calzone using egg substitutes, plant-based cheese and butter, beef or pepperoni alternatives, and fresh vegetables like tomatoes, avocado, and onions.
Appetizers Appetizers such as loaded fries or potato skins, mozzarella cheese sticks, and salads pose issues for those with dietary restrictions.
Vegan and lactose-intolerant diets force diners to forgo appetizers like loaded fries and potato skins, usually made with cheese, meats like bacon or pork, sour cream, and butter. However, pizzerias can adjust recipes with some simple plant-based swaps for those with dietary restrictions. Plant-based alternatives for dairy products can replace traditional dairy-based sour cream, butter, and cheese ingredients while maintaining a similar taste. As for meat, many plant-based replacements exist in the market, such as soy, tofu, and seitan.
Mozzarella sticks are another appetizer many diners with dietary restrictions had to skip. Creating plant-based mozzarella sticks is simple, so long as the pizzeria understands how to melt plant-based cheese.
While salads may not seem like they’d pose a problem, many salad dressings and toppings, such as a caesar salad with grilled chicken, contain meat and dairy ingredients. By offering plant-based replacements for dressings and toppings, salad lovers can have a healthy meal filled with protein, flavor, and cheesy goodness.
Pasta Pizzerias serving pasta dishes have an easy opportunity to incorporate plant-based replacements into entrees.
Pizzerias can blend plant-based cheeses, meats, and sauces to create both unique and classic dishes for customers to try. Dishes could include chicken parmigiana using a chicken alternative, tomato sauce, and melted plant-based cheese; a cheesy pasta bake with plant-based shredded mozzarella, mushrooms, garlic, and spinach; or pasta with a creamy plant-based sauce using shredded cheddar cheese and a milk alternative such as soy or oat.
Pizzerias looking to appeal to a wider audience should take a look at Oddlygood’s comprehensive line of plant-based cheese alternatives, including cheddar-style slices, mozzarella-style logs, and shredded cheeses. Oddlygood’s recipe-friendly plant-based replacements allow you to expand your business’s menu and draw in a larger audience by using ingredients every palate can enjoy.