Following the two companies’ recent moves in the UK, Pizza Hut and Beyond Meat have announced a new collaboration, with the debut of the Beyond Pepperoni pizza. A first for both brands, the pizza will be available in nearly 70 locations across the US.
“We know there is strong consumer demand for pepperoni, and we’re thrilled to unveil a game-changing plant-based pepperoni topping” – Beyond Meat
However, much like the recent UK launch, the pizza contains dairy cheese and as such is not suitable for vegan customers. Aimed at a health-conscious flexitarian or “reducetarian” demographic, the plant-based pepperoni is made from peas and rice, with no GMOs, soy, gluten, hormones, antibiotics, or cholesterol.
Nevertheless, the vegan community has been questioning why Pizza Hut would only go halfway with its meat-free offerings and shunning the exploding vegan market. The partnership between Pizza Hut and Beyond Meat is part of Yum! Brands’ strategic partnership with the alt meat leader, with fellow fast-food giants KFC and Taco Bell also on board. Yum! has yet to invest in a plant-based cheese producer to make a fully vegan menu option and therefore finds itself lagging behind in this expanding market.
Other mainstream QSR chains such as Burger King have invested greatly in plant-based and continue to reap the rewards, even experimenting with a 100% vegan restaurant in Germany. In yet another example, Chicago beef chain Buona recently sold out of its vegan sandwich option in one day at all locations upon launch due to “extremely high demand”.
The new Beyond Pepperoni Pizza is available for a limited time at selected Pizza Hut locations in five cities: Albany, New York; Columbus and Macon, Georgia; Houston, Texas; and Jacksonville, Florida.
“We know there is strong consumer demand for pepperoni, and we’re thrilled to unveil a game-changing plant-based pepperoni topping as the next chapter in our innovation-focused partnership with Pizza Hut,” explained Dariush Ajami, Chief Innovation Officer, Beyond Meat.
“We’re confident fans will love Beyond Pepperoni as it delivers the crisped edges and savory flavor profile of Pizza Hut’s classic pepperoni with the added benefits of plant-based meat,” he added.