Pizza, a beloved diet staple for many Americans, is being consumed at its highest level in four years, according to a new report from analyst Technomic. In order to maintain this momentum and stay ahead in the competitive pizza space, researchers say operators must innovate and adapt to consumers’ evolving demands for unique, high-quality and better-for-you pizza ingredients and add-ons.

“Today’s consumers are less beholden to their standard pizza orders, as emerging players push the envelope of what’s expected on a pizza menu,” says Deanna Jordan, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “New chef-designed specialty pizzas positioned as customizable thought-starters will serve to convey kitchen skills and allow for the personalization these consumers increasingly expect.”

Key takeaways include:

-Pizza consumption is trending up; consumers average four pizza occasions per month, up from 3.4 in 2014.

-Unique toppings are increasingly key; 39 percent of consumers, up from 32 percent two years ago, say that new and innovative toppings are highly important in creating a good pizza

-More consumers are demanding transparency in the pizza occasion; 32 percent of consumers, up from 25 percent in 2014, say it’s important to know the nutritional content of the pizza they eat

More on the report can be found here