Try Ribbon Pepperoni On Your Next Pizza

Hormel is introducing a new style of sliced pepperoni for homemade pies.

When it comes to pizza toppings, the shape of ingredients plays a key role in the characteristics that those ingredients can lend to a dish. Take, for example, America's favorite pizza topping, pepperoni. Though you already know pepperoni for its flat circular slices, it also comes in forms such as thick-cut, cupping, and cubed, each of which results in a very different sort of pizza slice. Now, major meat processor Hormel is debuting a new format of pepperoni altogether. It's likely you haven't seen this type of meat at a pizzeria before—at least not if you live in America.

What is ribbon pepperoni?

The new Hormel product is called ribbon pepperoni, and it's set to debut at the International Pizza Expo next week, which is the largest annual pizza trade show in the world. The name of the product might call to mind images of an enormous strip of meat cut lengthwise from a pepperoni log, like a protein-rich Fruit By The Foot, but the reality is much more manageable than that.


It turns out that ribbon pepperoni is akin to another ingredient that's also integral to pizza: the cheese.

"We asked ourselves, what if pepperoni could be handled and applied like shredded mozzarella cheese?" Blake Flores, lead of innovation for Hormel Foodservice, said in the announcement. "We tested pepperoni spirals, we tested different thicknesses of pepperoni, but in the end, ribbons emerged as the solution that best addressed these operator pain points, and we're already seeing the results. The response to this product from our foodservice customers has been overwhelmingly positive."

Ribbon pepperoni is inspired by Canadian pizza

Hormel says that the ribbon pepperoni was inspired by a hyper-regional specialty pizza from our neighbors to the north. It's from Windsor, Ontario, and the pizza is simply referred to as "Windsor-style."


If you've never heard of Windsor-style pizza before, you're not alone. I worked in pizza for a long time and wasn't aware of it myself.

Windsor, Ontario sits just across the river from Detroit, but its pizza doesn't resemble Michigan's square and crispy-edged pies. Instead, Windsor-style is a round, wedge-cut thin-crust pizza with a cornmeal-dusted crust and a spicy-sweet sauce, and its defining feature is its topping mix: Aside from tomato sauce and cheese, a Windsor-style pie must feature canned mushrooms (yes, canned!) and shredded matchstick pepperoni.

Hormel's research found that shredded pepperoni addresses multiple issues with pizza preparation. For one thing, round pepperoni slices can be time-consuming to distribute evenly across a pizza when preparing a pie for foodservice (I can vouch for this, especially in a time crunch). And for non-pizza dishes like salads or pasta, round pepperoni aren't always the best form factor for ease of eating.


Pizza trends come and go in cycling waves, just like fashion trends. Examples of ascendant pizza styles across the past decade include Midwestern thin crustDetroit-style, pickle pizzapineapple pizza, and artisan styles that defy boundaries, just to name a few. So, with Hormel broadening the customer base for ribbon pepperoni, maybe 2024 is when Windsor-style pies will really shine. However, Ontario will still have to convince me that canned mushrooms are really the best choice here.