We absolutely LOVE IT when big name companies launch vegan items and engage in vegan-friendly moves! We were ecstatically excited when the American convenience store chain, 7-Eleven, announced that they were switching to vegan mayo, we celebrated when Ben & Jerry’s announced that they’re working on a line of vegan ice cream, and we were delighted when Domino’s declared the launch of its vegan pizza.
It’s therefore no surprise that when we heard that Pizza Hut is about to launch its very first vegan pizza in Israel, we were filled with joy and couldn’t wait to confirm the news. However, the answers we got from the chain in regards to this new vegan pizza left us somewhat confused…
Domino’s Pizza vs. Pizza Hut
About eight months ago, Domino’s Pizza became the first major pizza chain to address the vegan community’s increasing demand in Israel. The launch of their vegan pizza turned out to be a wise financial move – not only has the chain added a new and constantly growing market to its circle of cliental, but the move has also won the chain a major, positive, online buzz. Since this successful launch, the chain has been further developing its vegan options; so far the chain has introduced a whole-wheat vegan pizza in addition to its regular one, added further items like vegan calzone and vegan “cheese sticks”, and even invited members of the vegan community for pizza tasting events, as part of their efforts to improve and perfect their soy-based vegan cheese recipe.
In parallel to Domino’s Pizza’s success, Pizza Hut have been receiving increasing requests to launch a vegan pizza as well. These requests have peaked in the last few days, when the chain posted a question on their Israeli Pizza Hut Facebook page asking “What would you like to order?” The response they received was surprising, as over 1,500 people replied with some variation of “vegan pizza, please!”, and many of the responses encouraged the chain to ensure that their pizza will not only be vegan, but will also be topped with cashew cheese, rather than a soy-based cheese, to provide further alternative and competition to the soy cheese pizza launched by Domino’s.
This outstanding response was the final stamp of acknowledgement that the Israeli Pizza Hut needed, and this past Tuesday they replied: “Good morning to all the vegans. We are happy [to know] that you are awaiting our vegan pizza, and we are even happier to announce that it will be launched very soon. We are doing our best of efforts to get it out as soon as possible, while ensuring its quality”.
Vegan pizza, but where is the cheese?
Following Pizza Hut’s announcement, The Vegan Woman has contacted Pizza Hut Israel to enquire about the upcoming launch and the type of vegan cheese the chain plans to use on its vegan-friendly variation. To our surprise, the response we’ve received has clarified that while Pizza Hut Israel is planning to launch with two types of pizzas (a Vegan Antipasti Pizza and a Vegan Israeli Style Pizza), both pizzas are planned to be served without any cheese!
This news started quite a debate between the members of our team here at The Vegan Woman. While some of us pointed out that every vegan-friendly step is positive, bringing veganism closer to the heart of the mainstream both in the public’s consciousness and in terms of accessibility, other team members felt disappointed by the move; feeling that it seems as though the chain is trying to benefit from the buzz of a vegan pizza, without putting in the work and effort of developing a vegan cheese that their audience will enjoy. While some team members thought that a pizza topped with lots of veg and no cheese could be a real treat, pointing out that similar pizzas both in the UK (the Pianta at Pizza Express) and Canada (the Vittoria and Whole Wheat Diana at Pizzaiolo) are a huge success, others felt that for them, a pizza is all about the cheese, and that the chain should at least give their vegan audience the choice between a cheese-free pizza and a vegan pizza with cheese.
So we decided to put all these questions out there and ask you, our audience, for your thoughts: are Pizza Hut attempting to jump on the vegan bandwagon, or does this seem like a genuinely vegan-friendly step? What do YOU think? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.