Pizza shells, as well as toppings, are going upper-crust in many cases.
Supermarket deli executives told SN that since consumers are equating gourmet with healthy these days, they have made changes in their pizza shells to add to that perception.
"Just two months ago, we changed our pizza shell formulation to make it less greasy. We did it by replacing olive oil with canola oil in the recipe," said Fred DiQuattro, director of deli, bakery, seafood and food service for Bedford Heights, Ohio-based Riser Foods, which operates 44 Rini-Rego supermarkets.
For all its pizza, the company uses a thick shell that's similar to Boboli bread, and has just added a whole wheat version. Why those? "We offered both thin and thick for a while, but we listen to what our customers want, and they kept asking for thick crust," DiQuattro said.
And V. Richard's, Brookfield, Wis., switched late last year from a thin crust to focaccia for its pizzas.
"It's different. You can get a thin crust in any pizza parlor, but this has an upscale perception," said Elizabeth Little, V. Richard's president.
Focaccia pizza also will soon be added at Baker's Supermarkets, Omaha, Neb., said a source at the 10-unit, upscale independent.