Slice into C&U Pizza Trends

June 2018

It’s no surprise that pizza continues to stand out as a popular food choice on college and university campuses—nearly 70% of Gen Zers say they like to order pizza. It seems that no matter the time of day, the comfort-inducing combination of cheese, sauce, crust and toppings is the perfect way to satisfy their hunger.

Portability and customization reign supreme for younger diners, so it’s easy to see why pizza is the most popular dinner food and second-most popular lunch food among college students. Use these pizza insights to ensure you’re satisfying students’ cravings and keeping them dining on campus:

  • Appeal to students’ love of pizza by thinking beyond lunch and dinner. Breakfast pizzas can attract students who normally skip the morning meal. Consider adding the breakfast version of a French Bread Pizza with Seasoned Turkey Crumbles to your early-morning, brunch or all-day breakfast lineup—it’s made with turkey sausage crumbles and a sunny-side-up egg.
  • Let students customize. More than 60% of college students appreciate build-your-own and made-to-order food stations. Try featuring this BBQ Pizetta as inspiration—it incorporates sweet-and-smoky barbecue sauce, cilantro, turkey medallions and a blend of cheeses to create a patron-pleasing flavor combination.
  • Add better-for-you options. Health is playing an increasingly significant role in students’ foodservice decisions, as more than half of students say it’s important to eat healthily and pay attention to nutrition. Meet demand for trending, lightened-up toppings and health by including turkey bacon, turkey sausage crumbles, turkey chorizo and sliced turkey meatballs as protein choices that are lower in fat and calories than beef or pork.
  • Offer classic and adventurous flavors. It’s important to perfect a traditional pie, as college-aged diners order cheese pizza 895% more often than the average diner. It’s also crucial to remember that pizza can be an ideal canvas for a variety of ingredients and flavors that meet Gen Zers’ eclectic-yet-traditional cravings.
  • Make pizza more than savory. Dessert pizzas are another interesting way to innovate with flavors on a familiar platform. Ingredients such as sugar cookie dough, fresh fruit and mascarpone cheese can take center stage as a sweet treat to reward late-night study sessions.
  • Innovate your service options. If students can have hot and ready pizza on campus anytime, they’ll be less likely to order delivery from an off-campus location. Some universities are going so far as to feature pizza vending machines that allow students to insert cash or a card, select their favorite toppings, and walk away with a fresh and hot pizza in just three minutes.

What types of pizza is your C&U operation serving? Let us know on Facebook or LinkedIn, and check our Resource Center to see what else is trending in foodservice.



Generational Consumer Trend Report, Technomic, 2016.

College & University Consumer Trend Report, Technomic, 2017.

Lee, Renee. Report: College students most likely to spend money on food, SmartBrief, April 2016.

Bancalari, Kellie. The most popular food delivery orders on campus, according to Grubhub, USA TODAY College, August 2017.

C&U operators leverage pizza toppings, novel and familiar, FoodService Director, September 2016.

Trifonova, Oksana. Upon success of cupcake ATM, bring pizza ATM to campus, Daily Trojan, January 2017.

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