So much for getting a slice of that gluten-free market pie.
Papa John’s is rolling out gluten-free pizza. Oh, but there might be gluten in it, so anyone with celiac disease still shouldn’t eat it.
While the new $9.99 two-topping pizza will be made on a crust of wheat-alternative ancient grains (including sorghum, teff, amaranth and quinoa) whipped up in a gluten-free facility, the pizza-maker can’t guarantee that this artisanal crust won’t become contaminated with gluten once it hits the pizzeria.
“It is possible that a pizza with gluten-free crust could be exposed to gluten during the in-store, pizza-making process. Therefore, the brand does not recommend its Gluten-Free Crust made with Ancient Grains for customers with Celiac Disease or serious gluten intolerances,” the brand cautioned in a press release.
Social media isn’t buying it.
So.. Papa John's rolling out a gluten free pizza yet warning pizza w celiac disease not to eat it 😂
— Jon P (@BamaGrad00) August 8, 2017
So Papa John's has a gluten-free pizza out.
They have now noted that it is not safe for celiacs, as it may have gluten.
— The Foxish (@The_Foxish) August 10, 2017
If you ever think you've made a dumb decision, just remember that Papa John's made a GF crust that gluten intolerant people can't eat.
— Ryanne Wise (@rywise723) August 9, 2017
Papa John’s spent more than two years developing this crust in its attempt to get a piece of the gluten-free industry pie, which is projected to hit $7.59 billion by 2020. Gluten-free sales spiked 178% between 2013 and 2016, according to Mintel, as the number of Americans going gluten-free has tripled since 2009, led by celebrities such as Zooey Deschanel, Miley Cyrus, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Emmy Rossum and Chelsea Clinton publicly kissing off wheat products to lose weight or because of health sensitivities.
Younger diners are driving the gluten-free movement, according to Nielsen data, which finds 37% of Gen Z and 31% of Millennials are “very willing” to pay a premium for gluten-free products, compared to just 22% of Baby Boomers.
Papa John’s has also been dishing healthier pies by removing high fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial flavors and synthetic colors, and some preservatives and hydrogenated oils.
A Papa John’s rep told Moneyish that, “Our customers asked for a gluten-free crust, and we worked to provide them with the best-tasting, highest-quality option. Our gluten-free crust is produced in a gluten free facility, but given our normal operating and production procedures using fresh dough containing gluten, we have the responsibility to keep our customers informed of those practices.”
He also noted that Pizza Hut has the same caveat. And Domino’s also warns those with celiac disease risk exposing themselves to gluten with its own gluten-free crust in its kitchens. “It wouldn’t be entirely honest to guarantee that pizzas made with this crust are absolutely gluten free, ” it notes on its website, so customers with gluten sensitivities should exercise judgment in consuming this pizza.
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