With its soft texture and full-bodied, milky flavor, mozzarella cheese offers a slightly acidic, lactic note that consumers love. In fact, each American eats an average of about eleven pounds of mozzarella each year making it the favorite cheese of the USA.1 Yet contemporary pizza palates are yearning for more than mozzarella, seeking a variety of original cheese flavors that reflect a more complex taste profile of Italian heritage.
Of course, the rich, robust flavor of Mozzarella is still a mainstay of pizza creation. But as pizza lovers become more sophisticated, their taste expectations of authentic Italian flavors go beyond Mozzarella to other diverse cheese notes, and not just in the topping. Cravings for rich Italian cheese profiles in crusts and sauces are becoming just as important as what’s sprinkled on top. In fact, recent survey findings reveal that the flavor of the sauce and crust are gaining prominence as the most important parts of the pizza.2
With this trend in mind, ingredient specialists with concentrated cheese paste expertise are finding new ways to infuse distinctive cheese flavors throughout the pizza, from topping to crust. With the perfect formulations, a pizza sauce can become more tantalizing with an aged Italian Parmesan or intensified with a surprising Gorgonzola profile. A hint of Italian seasonings such as Herbes de Provence can be permeated into a buttery crust. A rosemary-enriched Provolone or a Fontina touched with basil are just a few of the other flavorful possibilities that can be evoked in every slice. This works for toppings as well. A cheddar note added to ground sirloin creates the ideal hamburger pizza or authentic asiago-enhanced onions and bell peppers offer a more flavorful veggie pie. Under the guidance of ingredient experts, aged flavor profiles such as Mozzarella can also be accomplished in less time.
In addition to the diversity of Italian cheese notes that an ingredient developer can bring to a pizza recipe, there are also some bottom line and branding benefits. Concentrated cheese pastes create exciting flavors without incurring the cost of block cheese. So, pizza developers can boast authentic Italian flavors on the package while maintaining a reasonable price. Tastier Italian flavor profiles can also be achieved without adding extra undesirable artificial ingredients or faux cheese flavors that turn off consumers. As a result, clean label becomes an attractive benefit that a pizza developer can offer consumers.
If the perfect pizza is the focus of a food manufacturer, then accomplishing the ideal Mozzarella notes and beyond is essential. By working with the right ingredient partner, pizza developers can achieve a savory pizza full of authentic Italian cheese flavors including Mozzarella and more.