Blaze Makes It Easier For Keto And Vegan Eaters To Go Out For Pizza

Food & Drink

If you search Amazon’s cookbook listings, you’ll find more than 10,000 titles that mention the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet, better known as keto.

And, there are more than 50,000 titles that talk about vegan eating, where diners eschew animal products.

Given the interest in the eating plans, it’s no wonder that brands are racing to introduce items that these eaters can choose when they go out.

The latest is Blaze Pizza, the California fast-casual chain that specializes in quick, customized pizzas cooked in a blazing hot oven.

On Tuesday, Blaze outlets in the United States and Canada introduced two new pizza crusts — one made from a cauliflower base, the other a keto crust, with only six grams of carbohydrates.

Both crusts are gluten-free.

Along with the crusts, Blaze introduced four “life mode” pizzas, aimed at diners who follow keto, protein, vegetarian and vegan eating plans.

Individual pizza stores across the country have been rolling out these types of pizza for a while, and chains such as Chipotle and Taco Bell have touted their vegan and other lifestyle dining options.

But Blaze, which has 300 outlets, appears to be the biggest pizza brand to embrace all the options at once.

“As the first national chain to unveil a Keto Crust, Blaze’s innovation is changing the way that guests think about and eat pizza,” its executive chef, Bradford Kent, said in a company press release. “We’re making pizza an option, even for those on a low carb diet.”

The specialty pizzas are available only through online ordering. Blaze is purchasing the cauliflower and keto crusts from a vendor, but its regular pizza crusts continue to be made in house from scratch.

The cauliflower crust will cost about $3 extra and the keto crust about $4 extra, depending on what franchisees decide to charge.

Blaze has been a quick adopter of food trends as they move from home kitchens and smaller places into the mainstream.

Last year, it briefly sold a pizza that featured Mexican street corn. Its stores offer zero alcohol beverages in interesting flavors that echo those available in Latino groceries.

And, earlier this year, it introduced a vegan, plant-based spicy chorizo sausage, which is available along with its conventional meats.

And even when they aren’t following a diet plan, consumers are showing an interest in new options, like the plant-based meat offered by Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat.

About 14 percent of diners have tried them, but the vast majority do not describe themselves as vegetarian or vegan.

The number of people who use those labels remains relatively small, according to Susan Schwaillie, executive director of the NPD Group.

About 12% of Millennials describe themselves as vegetarians or vegans, 11% of boomers, 8% of Gen Xers and 7% of Gen Z, she said.

But in Europe, vegetarian and vegan eating is getting significant attention in the food world.

In late May, Pret A Manger bought EAT, the British sandwich and coffee chain, and said it would turn many of EAT’s 94 outlets into Veggie Pret locations, which serve vegetarian and vegan items.

In the U.S., alternative dining supermarket brands such as CauliPower are seeing phenomenal growth. And, given Blaze’s move, other pizza brands are bound to take notice.

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