Finger Foods, Pizza and Snacks

Pizza Hut’s Faux Meat Topping Rolls with Round Boxes in Phoenix

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Since the advent of pizza home delivery service in North America, takeout boxes have been square and the round pies inside of them were more than often topped with meat. Not anymore.

On October 23 the Pizza Hut restaurant chain began a limited-time trial run of a plant-based pizza topping served up in what could be a game-changing round pizza box. The test of both innovations is taking place exclusively at a single Pizza Hut outlet in Phoenix, Arizona, with the introduction of Garden Specialty Pizza topped with MorningStar Farms’ Incogmeato faux Italian sausage.

Longtime veggie “burger meister” MorningStar Farms, a division of the Battle Creek, Michigan, USA-headquartered Kellogg Company, recently took the wraps off a raft of soy-based Incogmeato offerings bound for the frozen food sections of retail stores – among them Chik’n Nuggets and Tenders. So its stepped up activity in the pizza topping sector comes as no surprise.

Marianne Radley, chief brand officer of Plano, Texas-headquartered Pizza Hut, is very enthusiastic about the test marketing in Phoenix.

“We innovate for human’s sake and we’ll win on taste – period,” she declared. “We don’t do anything half way, and improving the customer experience and delivering a better tasting pizza is our core mission. When we talk about feeding more possibilities, we mean it.”

Pizza Hut partnered with Zume to design a way to put a round pizza in a round box. Not only does the round box contain less overall packaging compared to a typical square pizza box, it’s also industrially compostable and interlocks easily to ensure a smoother delivery and safely keep leftovers in the fridge.

Following the trial in Phoenix, Pizza Hut will look at ways to roll the box out more widely in the near future.

Thinking Outside the Square Box for Two Years

“This revolutionary round box is the result of a two-year journey, and is the most innovative packaging we’ve rolled out to date,” said Nicolas Burquier, the company’s chief customer and operations officer. “It was engineered to make our products taste even better by delivering hotter, crispier pizzas. This box is a win-win. It will improve the pizza eating experience for our customers and simplify the operating experience for our team members.”

Hot off the heels of last month’s Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza launch, this limited-time test run of the plant-based faux Italian sausage topping marks the second venture for Pizza Hut and Kellogg. The new Garden Specialty Pizza features Incogmeato Italian sausage, onions, mushrooms and banana peppers and is served exclusively on a large, hand-tossed crust.

“Incogmeato is a new brand created to challenge convention on delicious plant-based food,” said Wendy Davidson, president of Kellogg’s Away from Home division. “Pizza Hut is the innovation leader in its category and we are excited to partner with them to develop a tasty, first-ever plant-based pizza to satisfy what flexitarians are seeking today.”

Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Louisville, Kentucky-headquartered Yum! Brands, has more restaurant locations in the world than any other pizza company. Founded in 1958 in Wichita, Kansas, it operates over 18,000 units in more than 100 countries along with franchise partners.