Operations

Pizza Hut is testing a round box

The chain is also testing plant-based sausage as it works with Zume on more sustainable packaging.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Pizza Hut customers in Phoenix are about to get something of a surprise with their orders starting tomorrow: a round box.

The Plano, Texas-based pizza chain plans to test the box at a single store in Phoenix on Wednesday, along with its limited-time test of a pizza featuring plant-based sausage. The Garden Specialty Pizza has a plant-based topping, “Incogmeato,” made by Kellogg’s Morningstar Farms. 

The Morningstar test adds yet another competitor in the growing market for plant-based meat. It’s notable that Pizza Hut is working with a company that is not Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods, two plant-based upstarts that have helped put the trend in overdrive by working with fast-food companies.

This is the second time that Pizza Hut has worked with Kellogg in recent months, following the companies’ Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza launch. The Garden Specialty Pizza will feature plant-based sausage, onions, mushrooms and banana peppers on a hand-tossed crust.

The product will be sold for a limited time for $10, with proceeds from the sale to be donated to Arizona Forward, a Phoenix-based sustainability organization. The single-store test is reminiscent of KFC’s test of plant-based chicken at a single store in August. That store ran out of the Beyond Fried Chicken in five hours. KFC and Pizza Hut are both owned by Yum Brands.

As for the round box, Pizza Hut is working with packaging company Zume. The box is both compostable and uses less packaging because there are no corners. The box also interlocks easily “to ensure a smoother delivery.”

“In other words, no pizza insurance policy needed and freed up space in the fridge for leftovers,” the company said in a release, taking a shot at rival Domino’s Pizza, which currently has a campaign guaranteeing a quality delivery experience.

Pizza Hut said it would look for ways to roll out the packaging more widely “in the near future.”

Nicolas Burquier, chief customer and operations officer, said it is “the most innovative packaging we’ve rolled out to date.”

“The box is a win-win,” he said. “It will improve the pizza-eating experience for our customers and simplify the operating experience for our team members.”

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