Hot out of the oven from the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Hormel Foods Corp., a Fortune 500 global-branded food company and maker of retail pepperoni and foodservice pizza toppings, has a pulse on the latest topping trends to help pizzaiolos, aficionados and home cooks everywhere elevate their pizza games. 

Pizza-topping experts Kyle Flottman and Colby Strilaeff, both brand managers at Hormel Foods, have spent years working in the pizza-toppings business, and after experiencing the annual Vegas trade show and its 444 exhibitors, Flottman and Strilaeff identified the five key trends to look for in the coming months.

Rise of culinary travel and regional flavors

“One of the fastest growing trends in pizza is international flavors, with Thai, Vietnamese and Mexican flavors topping that ever-growing list,” Flottman said. From familiar favorites like chorizo to bold flavors like salsa verde and chicken tinga, a new line of Mexican-inspired toppings from Burke Corp. — a Hormel Foods subsidiary headquartered in Nevada, Iowa  — is capitalizing on consumer interests and elevating foodservice operators’ menus.

Use of non-traditional ingredients

According to Flottman, plant-based, dairy-free and pickle pizza are just a few variations that have recently taken the pizza world by storm. Hormel Foods' Happy Little Plants pepperoni-style topping offers the burst of flavor people want and expect from real-meat pepperoni, but with a plant-based spin. Pickle pizza, paired by some with ranch dressing, has also been growing in popularity since first going viral in 2018.

Cupping sausage

With the popularity of cupping pepperoni reaching an all-time high, Hormel Foods is excited to introduce yet another cupping item to its portfolio of foodservice products. “We recently launched and introduced the new Fontanini cup-and-char sausage at this year’s International Pizza Expo with great success,” Strilaeff said. “We couldn’t think of a better combination than Rosa Grande pepperoni and Fontanini cup-and-char sausage on any size or style of pizza, including deep dish.”

Spicy and complex flavors

It’s no secret that spicy flavors have long been a staple on pizzas. However, Flottman expects this trend not only to continue, but also to intensify. “Many consumers tie food choices to self-expression,” Flottman said. “Consumers want spicy, complex flavors on their pizza pies. And we’re not just talking sweet and spicy. Consumers are bending the flavor system with some unlikely matchups, such as chili-dog pizza and Thai curry chicken pizza.” 

Cup-and-char pepperoni post bake 

Vincent Rotolo from Good Pie in Las Vegas helped launch a trend on social media by heaping a pound of pepperoni onto the restaurant’s signature “Triple Pep” pizza, a culinary creation that involves cooking half of the pepperoni in a pan and then placing it on top of the finished pizza.

Hormel Foods has a long-standing reputation for creating innovative products for foodservice providers and retailers, including its new Fontanini cup-and-char sausage and famous signature curl-and-charred Rosa Grande pepperoni. For more information about Hormel pizza toppings, including recipes, nutritional information and where to buy, visit

Source: Hormel Foods Corp.