I’ve been writing a fair amount lately about the the necessity for all of us to get used to the idea that we’ll have to switch from Animal to Vegetable Protein sources to ensure we’ll all have enough to eat come 2050. But there are some pressing questions that must be addressed now…
One of those questions is: what will become of Pizza in a future where climate change and the the need to raise food sustainably rule our lives? I wondered, at first idly, about that when searching for the latest list of most- and least-popular Pizza toppings on Google. And the more I thought, the more I wondered…
A little background
At first I thought it was odd that the latest (2019) preference-graded list of Pizza ingredients was dated way back near the beginning of the year. Then a footnote to one post I read noted that most surveys on which such ‘favourites’ lists are based are conducted at the end of the subject year, and published early the next. So, the latest full-year results we have are really for 2018. Anyway.
The 2018 list looked remarkably like those for previous years which I found in my searches, so I feel comfortable in going with them for purposes of this article.
Note: Let’s assume that Tomatoes (for Sauce), Herbs and Spices remain available in a future where the concepts of ‘Meat’ and ‘Veggies’ are warped totally out of shape from what we accept as ‘normal’ today.
A quick rundown
A condensation by Food & Drink magazine of the incredibly detailed stats gathered by yougov.com revealed that the four most ordered Pizza toppings in the U.S. were: Pepperoni, Sausage, Mushroom and Bacon, in descending order of preference. The least-ordered toppings were: Anchovies, Eggplant, Pineapple and Artichokes.
Critical points to consider:
1. The most popular toppings are Meats, and processed Meats, at that. Will these cultural flavour standards not be among the first Pizza toppings to go when we switch from real Meat to Veggie Meat Substitutes – and eventually to basic, unadulterated Veggie products such as Rice and Beans, Soy or Quinoa?
2. The least-loved toppings are Veggies. Will the popularity of Pizza not suffer dramatically if only Veggies are left to top our pies?
3. What about Cheese? The Pizza universe takes it for granted the same way most of us tend not to notice the air we breathe and the water we drink. No animals, no Milk; no Milk no Cheese. Will Pizza lovers deign to switch to Soy Milk or other ersatz Cheeses? Only time will tell.
4. What will take the place of Pizza in a future where the pies we take for grated today are no longer available?
The worst-case scenario
Contemplating point number 4., above, I had a flash about the Burger-making robot I posted on back in June, 2018. But my tortured mind took the idea way further. Instead of stocking the machine with all the usual Burger ingredients and toppings, inputting orders via a computer kiosk and serving finished Sandwiches out via a conveyor belt, I saw a big gleaming stainless steel box into which one or two lonely workers fed Tomatoes, Herbs and Spices, and huge blocks of Tofu all day while gears ground, timers beeped, and extruders chigga-chiggaed… And finished ‘Pizzas’ came out the other end. The variety – based on appearance, flavours and aromas – would be endless. But the ingredients, in their simplest form, would all be the same. H.G. Welles could hardly have imagined as gloomy and dystopian a future as our beloved Pizza faces.
The best-case scenario
In a future when real Meats are relegated to the history books, we should be able to count on other non-Pizza topped-Flatbread traditions to survive, taking the place, at least to some extent, of our beloved Italian Pie.
I don’t expect to be around in 2050 when this nightmare scenario all shakes out. But I extend to the young people, who will have to endure a world without real Pizza, my sincere condolences…
~ Maggie. J.