As pepperoni has evolved, two basic styles are prevalent in today’s market: the American style and the Traditional “Old World” style. American-style pepperoni is made with artificial casing, which produces straight, uniformly thick sticks that are easy to slice. The product has a slight orange rather than reddish color and is milder in flavor than traditional style. American-style is mild to medium spicy. Traditional pepperoni in its original form is made with natural casing, usually sheep gut. The product is a dark red, mahogany color and very spicy. Because of the natural casing it tends to be curvy and vary in thickness, making it difficult to slice.

American style pepperoni was first developed out of concern for how “Old World” pepperoni baked on top of pizza. American style pepperoni was developed to address three major concerns of restaurant owners: cupping, burning and greasing out – all three of which they felt detracted from the appeal of their pizzas.

To overcome these baking issues, manufacturers began to develop pepperoni that would not cup or char when put through the baking process. American style pepperoni was born. Because of the uniformity, ease of slicing and great baking characteristics, American style pepperoni has replaced Traditional as the predominant pepperoni used on pizza today. Despite this, many consumers still prefer the pungent, bacon-y flavor of curled, crispy, charred pepperoni. Now, some manufacturers offer the “Old World” curl and crisp without the natural casing. It might just be a great addition to your menu selection.

So which pepperoni is the right choice for your business – the curly, crispy traditional style pepperoni or the flat-baking, non-charring modern version? A final note of consideration when making your decision deals with the amount of pepperoni in each style needed to cover a pizza. When comparing American style to Traditional, American style covers more area because it curls less. However, some now argue that fewer thicker pieces taste better. Hence the question is whether coverage or taste is most important. The answer lies with your customers. If you feel they are willing o pay the price difference for “Old World” pepperoni over the American style pepperoni, charge an extra dime for your pizza…and make customers happy.

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