Little Caesars, the Detroit-based pizza chain that just brought back its bacon wrapped pizza and 5 Meat Feast pizza, announced Monday it’s partnered with Impossible Foods and will test market the Impossible Supreme pizza.
The buzz about the pizza is that its sausage topping is plant-based, developed by the Silicon Valley company that makes the popular Impossible Burger.
But metro Detroiters will have to wait for their slice of the pie. The Impossible Supreme Pizza will make its debut Monday at participating Little Caesars locations in Yakima, Washington, Ft. Meyers, Florida and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Ed Gleich, Little Caesars chief innovation officer, said the development of this pizza is based on trends and customer requests.
“We were seeing it in our product line, more and more people were ordering non-meat pizzas in general,” said Gleich. “When you’re a chain our size, you watch things and we are looking for things that aren’t necessarily a niche but have wide enough appeal that we can put in all of stores and sell enough of it and it is a high-quality product.”
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Available for $12, the large pizza will have Little Caesars traditional sauce that is covered with a blend of mozzarella and Muenster cheeses. The pizza is topped with seasoned Impossible Sausage, caramelized onions, mushrooms and greens peppers.
The Impossible Supreme pizzas, Gleich said, will test for a month. After the test phase, he said, they’ll analyze the results and decide what’s next.
Little Caesars test market locations, according to Impossible Foods, are the only ones to have its Impossible Sausage.
Originally, Gleich said, they were working with the Impossible Burger patties in their initial phase of developing the pizza topping.
“They (Impossible Foods) reformulated a different patty that had the texture and mouth feel and all the characteristics that a pork sausage has,” Gleich said.
Impossible Foods developed the plant-based sausage and then custom seasoned it for Little Caesars. This is Impossible Foods first new product since it launched its signature Impossible Burger.
“I’m confident that the Impossible Supreme Pizza will go down as one of the most surprising and satisfying menu sensations of 2019,” Little Caesar President and CEO David Scrivano said in a statement. “This is likely just the beginning of plant-based menu items from Little Caesars.”
Impossible Foods’ CEO and founder Dr. Patrick O. Brown said “the No. 1 priority is deliciousness,”
“…when Little Caesars said they wanted a unique, delicious pizza topping, our team developed more than 50 prototypes,” Brown said in a statement. “One product stood out from the rest. You need to taste it to believe it.”
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At those participating locations, the Impossible Supreme Pizza will be available all day and as Hot-N-Ready from 4-8 p.m. You can also order via the Little Caesars app and use the Pizza Portal pickup — the heated, self-service mobile order pickup station.
But just because Impossible Foods sausage is plant-based, doesn’t mean it’s low in fat and calories. While a ¼-pound serving of the sausage has zero milligrams of cholesterol, it also has 17 grams of total fat with 1.5 grams saturated fat, 17 grams of protein and 270 calories. A quarter-pound of beef sausage has about 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 29 grams of total fat (12 grams of saturated fat), 14 grams of protein and 340 calories.
The appetite for plant-based products, especially those that taste and resemble the meat, is sizzling hot. After a successful test of the Impossible Whopper, Burger King announced the plant-based burger would be added to the menu at all locations by the end of year. The Impossible Slider has settled in for more than a year now at White Castle and Qdoba restaurants also have Impossible crumbles.
More: Burger King plans to release plant-based Impossible Whopper nationwide by end of year
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Impossible Foods says its signature burger, which was reformulated in January and is now gluten-free, is served at more than 7,000 restaurants. Beyond Meat, another maker of a plant-based product that looks and tastes like meat, is just off the heels as being one of the most successful initial public offering (IPO) of its stock. On its first day of trading, the stock was offered at $25. It quickly soared and finished that first trading day up 163 percent. In Friday’s trading, Beyond Meat closed just shy of $90 a share.
The appeal of these plant-based burger products is not only that they taste and cook up like conventional meat, the burgers have the color and texture and even ooze red like meat. Impossible Foods red comes an ingredient called “heme” a molecule found in plants and animals. Beyond Meat is made from pea protein and gets red color from beet juice.