Chickpea-based comfort foods specialist Banza has announced that two new varieties of its high-fiber, high-protein chickpea pizza are hitting the shelves of supermarket and grocery store freezer aisles in the USA this month. Joining the New York-headquartered company’s line are Supreme, a meat alternative spin on a traditional sausage pizza featuring Beyond Sausage Italian Crumbles, and Plant-Based Cheese, a vegan pie made with dairy-free cheese from by Follow Your Heart, a vegan and vegetarian food supplier that began in 1970 as a restaurant in Canoga Park, California.
The new products boast the same nutritional benefits as Banza’s original pizza varieties — more protein and fiber, and fewer net carbohydrates and sodium than other conventional and better-for-you pizza crusts — and the same crispy crust and doughy center that consumers crave in a slice.
The vegetarian Supreme offering is made with a smoky San Marzano tomato sauce, layered on a three cheese blend of dairy-based mozzarella, provolone, and white cheddar, followed by red onions, fire-roasted green and red peppers, and topped with savory plant-based Beyond Sausage Italian Crumbles.
The Plant-Based Cheese option is a vegan pizza layered with a San Marzano tomato sauce infused with caramelized onion and roasted garlic, and topped with a melty, creamy plant-based mozzarella from Follow Your Heart.
“Chickpeas, and more broadly beans, are one of the best foods for human health and the environment,” said Brian Rudolph, chief executive office and co-founder of Banza. “Since launching our crust, we’ve hoped to create a vegan cheese pizza. Consumer research echoed that sentiment, along with an interest in supreme. While we aren’t comfortable using meat, we’re filling the void using a plant-based option. We created these two new varieties to give people another way to enjoy their favorite foods, all while eating more chickpeas.”
The new products are catering to the growing number of consumers in the United States looking for plant-based options. Chickpeas are frequently consumed in plant-based diets due to their high protein and fiber content.
“Beyond Meat’s delicious plant-based sausage — made of simple ingredients without GMOs, soy or gluten — is an excellent complement to Banza’s better-for-you pizzas,” said Rebecca Infusino, vice president of retail sales at El Segundo, California-headquartered Beyond Meat. “Our brands continue to make nutritious and sustainable plant-based options more accessible to people everywhere.”
Banza Pizza launched in October 2020 with four varieties, including Four Cheese, Margherita, Roasted Veggie and Plain Crust, and was the first commercial chickpea-based pizza crust. In less than a year on the market, it has grown its retail footprint by more than 300%, expanded into the foodservice segment through a partnership with Oath Pizza, and become the fastest-turning frozen pizza crust brand in the grocery sector.
Consumer demand for better-for-you alternatives to traditional comfort foods in grocery stores continues to increase, with the total better-for-you pizza category having grown 41% in the past two years, according to Nielsen data. Chickpea-based foods are showing strong growth, with Banza seeing three million new households buying its products in the past six months – reportedly nearly twice as many as the leading cauliflower pizza brand.