Celiac sufferers and gluten-free dieters rejoice – pizza is back on the menu.
About 2,400 of the 6,300 Pizza Hut locations in the U.S. will start selling gluten-free cheese and pepperoni pizza, beginning on Jan. 26. While Pizza Hut has tested gluten-free crusts in countries such as Australia, this is the chain's first domestic rollout of gluten-free pizza.
While Domino's has been selling pizza with gluten-free crust since 2012, Pizza Hut will be the first major pizza chain with a pie that is certified gluten-free. To make sure that the pizza met the qualifications of a gluten-free food, Pizza Hut partnered with Udi's Gluten Free Foods and the Gluten Intolerance Group to create the new menu item.
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“We partnered with the most-respected names in the gluten-free community to develop a best-in-class pizza for those looking to limit gluten in their diet,” David Gibbs, Pizza Hut's global CEO, said in a statement. “Our Gluten-Free Pizza has all the flavor America has come to expect from a Pizza Hut pizza, which is why we are thrilled to add this great pizza to our lineup."
To keep the pizzas certifiably gluten-free, ingredients will be kept in designated gluten-free kits. Employees preparing the pizzas will wear gloves, bake the pizzas on parchment paper and use a designated gluten-free pizza cutter.
Over the last few years, "gluten-free" has entered the lexicon of keywords that signify a healthy choice. From 2010 to 2012, gluten-free options increased from slightly over 100 items to more than 1,000 items on full service menus, reports food consultancy Technomic.
The new product also fits with Pizza Hut's recent rebranding and recommitment to providing customers a wide variety of options. In November, the chain doubled its menu, with 10 new crusts, six new sauces and five new toppings. If anything, gluten-free pizza looks tame next to options like the Sweet Sriracha Dynamite and the Pretzel Piggy.