Pizza that looks as good as it tastes
Just in time for the Super Bowl, now there's a way to make pizzas more festive for consumers.
 
It's a pizza decorating system yielding lifelife detail, akin to the kind put on cakes for special occasions. In fact, Lucks Food Decorating Co., a manufacturer of edible food decorations (especially for cakes), helped develop the creation.
 
The product is Pizza Fest, the newest, Parmesan-flavored invention from the Roma Foods division of Performance Food Group. And while your sports teams' logos might not be available for decoration just yet, the company already has licensing agreements with iCarly, Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob Square Pants characters and several universities, including Virginia Tech, Iowa and Michigan State.
 
Licensing opportunities with additional collegiate, professional sports teams are being explored for possible future rollout.
 
The strategy isn't a shot in the dark.
 
"Approximately 250 million fresh cakes are sold each year, 25 percent of which are decorated with either licensed or non-licensed designs," said Rob Bailey, Pizza Fest spokesperson. "Compare this to the 3 billion fresh pizza pies sold each year, and you can immediately see the bottom line impact Pizza Fest will have on the pizza industry. Because of their success in the baked goods arena, Lucks saw an obvious opportunity in the pizza category and are expecting a replication of similar results."
In a recent, informal survey, Bailey said pizzeria owners expressed an interested in the product for a variety of reasons: In order of preference, birthday designs (85 percent), kids licenses (55 percent), sports licenses, (31 percent), collegiate licenses (20 percent) and generic sports designs (17 percent).
 
There are already dozens of pre-made "Edible Image" designs to satisfy those categories, including generic holiday, birthday and anniversary decorations. When it's widely available later this year, pizzerias will be able to apply the completely edible colorful designs as a single topping that meld directly into the cheese on the pizza. The result is a pizza that "looks as good as it tastes." Customization will be allowed in the future and is expected to sell well.
 
No word yet on whether operators will be able to turn their photos or customers' drawings into pizza decorations with the product, which will be formally introduced in March.

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