Curled, not flat: Cupping pepperoni making a comeback

    Should pepperoni lie flat on your pizza, or curl up? Slices that curl skyward as they cook win more fans on social media, the Wall Street Journal reports, changing the way many pizzerias, pizza chains and sausage companies do business.

    The so-called “lay-flat” style of pepperoni—silver dollar-sized slices that remain flat when cooked—has been the default for decades at most pizzerias, including major national chains. But cupping pepperoni—which curls up and often develops browned or blackened edges—is making a comeback, partly because of social media.

    The popularity of cupping pepperoni is believed to have resurged about seven years ago in New York, with its photogenic appeal gaining traction on Instagram. There are even Instagram accounts devoted exclusively to cupping pepperoni.

    “In every city where there’s a pizza culture, we see people using it,” Anthony Panichelli, pizza toppings brand manager for Hormel Foodservice, told WSJ. “It will never overtake lay-flat, because it’s more costly and time-consuming to produce. But it’s a great marketing tool.”

    Cupping pepperoni tends to cost about 15% more than lay-flat. That’s because most varieties are made with a rendered collagen casing that promotes cupping, while some products are also stuffed into casings in a proprietary manner that further aids cupping.

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