Plant-based proteins are gaining popularity on pizza

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Pizza continues to be one of the most ordered foods in American dining establishments. According to The NPD Group, 1.2 billion servings of pizza were ordered in the quarter ending June 2021, up + 4% from the same quarter last year.

Ingredients are paramount to the quality of pizza, and American consumers are increasingly interested in plant-based protein to complement their pizza orders. According to NPD, units of plant-based protein meat analogs and ingredients shipped from general foodservice distributors to pizza operators were up + 56% in the second quarter compared to a year ago.

“Plants are no longer just a niche player in the catering market. It’s a common ingredient that appeals to a wide range of consumers, ”said Tim Fires, president of NPD’s SupplyTrack department. “It makes perfect sense that a popular food like pizza now has plant-based options. “

NPD research shows that around 20% of consumers say they want to increase the amount of plant protein they eat. These ingredients provide operators with unique opportunities, enabling them to develop recipes and menu offerings that appeal to consumers.

Recently, Pizza Hut partnered with Beyond Meat to launch Beyond Pepperoni, a plant-based version of the popular pizza topping that marks a first for both brands. It’s made with plant-based ingredients, including peas and rice, and is formulated without GMOs, soy, gluten, hormones, antibiotics, or cholesterol.

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