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Banza, Beyond Meat team up as plant-based meat makes its way to pizza

·Reporter, Booking Producer
·3 min read
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Banza is the latest company to partner with Beyond Meat (BYND) to unveil a new menu offering, as alternative meat makes inroads in fast and comfort foods.

On Tuesday, the food company known for chickpea-inspired creations like pasta, pizza, rice and mac & cheese, announced the release of a new, frozen vegetarian pizza option — but this one using plant-based Beyond Sausage Italian Crumbles. The new pizza is dubbed Banza Supreme. 

The latest entry to the frozen food section is made with additional toppings, including San Marzano tomato sauce, a three cheese blend of dairy-based mozzarella, provolone and white cheddar. The creation is topped with red onions, fire-roasted green and red peppers. 

The Banza Supreme "enables consumers to enjoy the delicious taste of a traditional pizza with the added nutritional and environmental benefits of plant-based protein" a Beyond Meat Spokesperson told Yahoo Finance in an email.

"This new Banza pizza offers a convenient and accessible way for people to try Beyond Meat, and we think fans will be excited about the combination of our plant-based sausage atop Banza's better-for-you crust," the spokesperson added.

The permanent offering is currently rolling out to retailers and e-commerce platforms across the U.S., including Kroger (KR), Amazon (AMZN) and Thrive Market, among others. 

Banza introduced its chickpea-based crust pizza, which was a first in the market, in October 2020. That featured four varieties: four cheese, Margherita, roasted veggie and plain crust. 

The alternative food space has given rise to success stories like oat milk, fake meat and other health-conscious options. And companies like Banza have reaped the rewards: Since the launch, the company's increased its retail footprint by more than 300%, and expanded into restaurants like Oath Pizza.

"In less than a year, our crust is selling faster than any other frozen pizza crust in grocery," Brian Rudolph, Banza CEO and co-founder, told Yahoo Finance in an e-mail.

He added: "50% of consumers who purchase Banza Pizza in grocery stores are new to the frozen pizza category, showing that our chickpea pizza crust is filling a gap." 

Banza Supreme Lifestyle made with Beyond Meat (Courtesy: Banza)
Banza Supreme Lifestyle made with Beyond Meat (Courtesy: Banza)

In addition to this launch with Beyond Meat, Banza is introducing an entirely vegan pie with vegan/vegetarian food company Follow Your Heart. That offering will use San Marzano tomato sauce, caramelized onions, roasted garlic and topped off with plant-based mozzarella. 

Rudolph says consumer demand plays a big role in Banza's innovation process, especially as their focus around food shifts, and sustainability becomes a key focus for many industries

"Incorporating more plant-based sources of protein, like chickpeas, is one of the best ways to improve human health and lower our carbon footprint," he explained.

We aren’t comfortable using animal-based meat. When consumer research revealed that a supreme pizza was one of the top flavors missing from our line, we developed a version that aligns with our brand values," Rudolphs added. 

And Beyond Meat's been increasingly active in the pizza industry. In November 2020, Beyond Meat launched Beyond Pan Pizzas with Pizza Hut (YUM) including Beyond Italian Sausage Pizza and the Great Beyond Pizza, which have since been discontinued. In early August, Pizza Hut and Beyond Meat announced the "next evolution" of an ongoing partnership, Beyond Pepperoni

Available at nearly 70 Pizza Hut locations Beyond Meat says the Beyond Pepperoni entree is only available for a limited time, with more "smaller tests" in the works ahead of national rollouts. 

Shares of Beyond Meat are down more than 10 percent year-to-date.

Brooke DiPalma is a producer and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at bdipalma@yahoofinance.com.