Pizza Hut announced today that it has added two Beyond Meat products to its menu, making it the first national pizza chain to embrace the plant-based protein trend in locations across the country.
Impossible Foods, Beyond’s rival, had a three-market trial with Little Caesars restaurants in 2019 (the product sold out before the two-month trial ended), and Pizza Hut previously worked with Kellogg’s own brand, Incogmeato, to create local Samples of artificial meat to obtain pizza toppings.
Following in the footsteps of fast food heavyweights like the burger giants (Burger King, Carl’s Jr., and soon to be McDonald’s), breakfast brands (Starbucks, Dunkin), and Mexican restaurants (Chipotle, Qdoba), Pizza Hut adds meat substitutes to one To serve a consumer base that increasingly calls itself flexitarian and wants to reduce real animal meat.
The pizza chain also takes a side from its own Yum Brands sibling, KFC, in partnership with Beyond Meat. The chicken restaurant tested Beyond’s artificial meat products and expanded from a domestic market to several states and the Southern California region when sales were brisk, even beating optimistic early forecasts.
Plant enthusiasts say the latest developments show the strength of the category.
“There’s no doubt about it – plant-based foods have arrived,” said Sabina Vyas, senior director, strategic initiatives, Plant Based Foods Association. “Consumer demand is skyrocketing and retail sales of plant-based foods have increased significantly.”
Fast food chains are “clearly engaged,” she added, anticipating 2021 to be an “explosive year” for the industry.
Tuesday’s Pizza Hut news followed a McDonald’s investor meeting on Monday where the burger giant said it plans to add a faux burger called McPlant (also the name of the broader veggie-friendly platform of chicken nuggets and breakfast sausage that will come later).
Though executives didn’t credit Beyond during the call, the Los Angeles-based brand later issued a statement saying it “created” the upcoming burger product with McDonald’s.
Starting today in the US and in select locations in London, Pizza Hut will have two Beyond brand pizzas on the menu: Beyond Italian Sausage Pizza and The Great Beyond with onions, tomatoes and banana peppers. Both contain an artificial sausage mix specially designed for the chain. (It’s not the same as sausage that can be found in grocery stores or chains like Dunkin. The Pizza Hut version contains garlic, bell pepper, fennel seeds, and other ingredients)
David Graves, Chief Brand Officer of Pizza Hut, said he would “challenge everyone to try the new Beyond Pan Pizza and tell the difference” between the artifact and the real sausage.
In addition, a pioneer in a plant-based category that is becoming increasingly crowded with traditional meat producers plans to “further raise the bar for breakthrough product innovation,” according to brand founder and CEO Ethan Brown.
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