Pizza Hut is at it again.
USA Today is reporting that starting tomorrow, January 26, the international pizza chain will offer its customers 10-inch cheese and pepperoni pizzas that are completely gluten-free in about 2,400 of its 6,300 domestic locations. Pizza Hut is working along with Udi’s Gluten-Free foods, the biggest gluten-free manufacturer in the world, and the Gluten Intolerance Group, a non-profit organization that verifies that food is, indeed, gluten-free and safe.
Gluten-free alternatives have become an increasing niche market for restaurants in the past few years. Domino’s has offered a gluten-free pizza, but do warn that the gluten-free product may come into contact with products or equipment that aren’t. Pizza Hut has stated that the cheese, dough, sauce, and pepperoni used for gluten-free pizzas will be kept away from other products. The gluten-free pizza will be baked on parchment paper, and cut with pizza cutters that touch no other pizzas.
Fourty-four million customers have, over the past few years, purchased gluten-free products of all kinds, with 22 percent ocassionally buying gluten-free products, per a research study done by Datamonitor. Research specialist Mintel found that almost 3,000 gluten-free products were introduced to the market between 2008 and 2010.
Pizza Hut will sell the six-slice pizza for $9.99, with each piece of pizza clocking in at about 150 calories per slice, or 100 calories less than their “Skinny Slice” pizza.
“This will get new users into the brand and existing users to visit more frequently,” says David Gibbs, CEO at Pizza Hut, in a phone interview.
The New York Times is reporting that there are two major causes for the increased popularity of gluten-free products. Many people feel that reducing gluten, which is a protein composite found in wheat, rye, barley, and other grains, will help in losing weight and maintaining weight control. Others have what is known as Celiac disease, where the ingestion of gluten could lead to damage to the lining of the small intestine. There are still others who suffer from non-Celiac gluten sensitivity.
Pizza Hut has stated they will not limit the gluten-free dough to just those two pizzas. If customers would like to hand-pick their toppings to be put on the Udi’s dough, customers will be accommodated. And fans of gluten-free products may be able to enjoy a brew with their pizza. MillerCoors has informed their distributors that they are beginning limited production of Coors Peak Copper Lager, which is professed to be a gluten-free beer. MillerCoors will test-sell the new product later this year in Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon.
[Image courtesy of Glutenfreeville.com]