Pizza Hut announced plans to make changes to its ingredients brand standards, beginning with the removal of artificial flavors and colors from its nationally available pizzas by no later than the end of July, the first national chain to make this commitment.
For more than a year, the Pizza Hut culinary team has been working alongside its suppliers to reformulate its menu, removing many of the artificial additives that have become common across the industry supply chain. The effort has meant continuous testing and redevelopment of products, all done to preserve the flavor people have come to expect from the brand but also to meet the desire of today's customers who seek to know more about what's in their food.
"Today's consumer more than ever before wants to understand the ingredients that make up the foods that they enjoy," said David Gibbs, CEO of Pizza Hut. "As the world's largest pizza company that has unrivaled heritage in quality and flavorful pizzas, it only made sense for us to lead the category in this area. We are committed to doing this the right way and to make the changes that ensure only the highest quality and greatest flavors in our food."
In addition to these ingredient simplifications, Pizza Hut has already eliminated partially hydrogenated oils (also known as artificial trans fats) and MSG. Moreover, the company has reduced the sodium in its pizzas as part of its Nutrition Bold Goal. By the end of 2015, 15 percent of Pizza Hut pizzas will have just one third of the daily recommended dietary allowance for sodium and 20 percent of its pizzas will meet that criteria by 2020.
Pizza Hut also does not use any fillers in any of its meat toppings. Its Italian sausage is all natural and sourced from U.S. farmers, and its meatballs are free of any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Pizza Hut also does not add any sugar or oil to its pizza marinara sauce and its cheese is made from 100 percent whole milk mozzarella.
Also in July, Pizza Hut will introduce an interactive nutrition calculator and allergen tool to its website and mobile app that will better enable customers to tailor Pizza Hut menu items to their needs.
The company also offers a wide variety of healthier options, including the category's only "Skinny" slice pizza recipes with five pizzas featuring 250 calories or less per slice as well its Udi's Gluten-Free pizza prepared using procedures certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group.
"You don't get the honor of being America's leading pizza brand without consistently keeping up with the changing needs of today's consumers," said Gibbs. "Our food journey took massive steps forward this past year with our Flavor of Now menu, and we will continue to work with our customers on this moving forward."