Are chains now catering for coeliacs or just trying to cash in on the 'trend' for gluten free diets from non-coeliacs that think it will help them lose weight - which we all know isn't true!
Do you have fond memories of eating at Pizza Hut before you were diagnosed a Coeliac? We do. We remember having a great 13th birthday party there and drinking lots of diet coke and delighting in ‘eating out’ and having pizza.
COELIAC UK CHARITY:
So we were pleased to learn in the Coeliac UK e-newsletter that charity for coeliacs (which required paid membership) stated:
"From October 8th, Pizza Hut will offer gluten-free pizza to all diners. Every Pizza Hut restaurant across the UK will offer the special square-shaped bases, which have been developed in close association with Coeliac UK and expert dough makers at Pizza Hut to ensure diners choosing a gluten-free option still experience the great Pizza Hut taste.
Wow. Imagine - another chain that actually caters for coeliacs. What great news! Also great for families and kids which are Pizza Hut’s target market. As it’s often hard to find gluten free places that are also family friendly.
But then we got thinking..silly Guerrillas..sometimes we over-think, especially if we haven’t eaten enough bananas. We wondered..well if Coeliac UK have worked in partnership with Pizza Hut to get this right for Coeliac diners why is there no mention of how they’ll make it safe and suitable for us? Surely if you’d worked hard with a company you’d want to shout about it and encourage Coeliacs and their friends to try the new product?
Yet there was no mention in the Coeliac UK e-newsletter:
- of how Pizza Hut will avoid cross contamination?
- of how staff will be trained to ensure the GF pizza really is Gluten Free?
- of the what Coeliac UK has done to help Pizza Hut take this product to market?
- of the price of the pizza?
- of how they trialled and perfected the base?
Hmmm. Strange? Are we just overly cautious?
Well it seemed not as on Sunday night we started to see a lot of chatter on gluten free social media channels saying they thought the whole thing was a hoax. Obviously these were non-Coeliac UK members who hadn’t read the newsletter and had just seen the rumours on various Coeliac Facebook groups. What piqued our interest was that many had called Pizza Hut and they had allegedly denied all knowledge of the GF pizza launch. Odd we thought.
PIZZA HUT UK:
So we reviewed the Pizza Hut website today expecting to see a nice new update on how they cater for Coeliacs. Instead we found this on their section for catering for allergies, intolerances and good old Coeliacs:
"Gluten free bases - will you be introducing them in the future?
We will not be introducing gluten free dough bases. Wheatflour is a core ingredient in our pizza and pasta dishes and we use flour in our kitchens for dusting and stretching pizzas.
Allergen information is available on our website.
We recommend Coeliacs use our salad bar most of which will be suitable, however you are advised not to eat the pasta salads, bacon bits, croutons and Caesar dressing. Since we refresh the ingredients on our salad bar regularly, please ask if you are unsure."
Hmm. Odder and odder. It clearly states they have no plans to introduce the GF pizza. Yet why would the website state this yet Coeliac UK state they were?
Pizza Hut restaurants********
We called three. Only one confirmed they knew of the launch and would be training staff this week about how to avoid cross contamination. They thought the GF pizzas would be the same prices as the ‘normal’ ones but couldn’t be sure yet.
Sounds like there was no soft launch of the product - let’s hope that a week of training helps the staff understand the seriousness of avoiding cross contamination.
We called Pizza Hut UK customer services (08447 700 669). They were very polite and helpful. They explained there were:
‘No plans to launch a gluten free pizza or cater for Coeliacs at the moment. If there were any menu changes we always get two weeks notice and would know.’
Stranger and stranger…
Pizza Hut Head Office************
So we asked their Customer Services for Pizza Hut’s Head Office number so we could talk to their Press Office. Except it seemed they don’t have a press office and we were given another number to call to talk to their external PR agency.
Pizza Hut’s PR Agency
Here they confirmed the truth. Yes - at last! We can confirm that Pizza Hut will indeed be launching a gluten free pizza on the 8th of October. But the PR agency had been left in the dark and hadn’t been made aware that Coeliac UK were publishing the story so soon. So that was why there seemed to be conflicting information.
To be continued…
So sadly we can’t tell you how much the pizza will be, how they’ll avoid cross contamination, what toppings you can have, whether it will be available via take-away as well (wouldn’t that be handy?!), whether they’re created in a separate section of their kitchens. But rest assured that as soon as we know - we’ll let you know!
As regular readers of our blog know we only share news once we’ve verified it and review products we’ve tried and loved. Otherwise - well - what would be the point? We’d just create confusion and you wouldn’t want to read our blogs would you?
So Guerrillas - look out for our updates on this and keep your fingers crossed that on the 8th you can enjoy a truly gluten free pizza, suitable for coeliacs!
What do you think?**********
Do you welcome chains creating gluten free options? Do you trust they train their staff to avoid cross contamination? Or do you think such GF options are aimed at gluten intolerant people and ‘gym bunnies’ jumping on the GF ‘trend’?
Do you believe that if a company is really serious about catering for the coeliac/ gluten free community that they’ll they do their best to engage with them and ensure their communication is joined up?
Would you love to eat a GF Pizza Hut pizza? Would your child? Let us know your thoughts..
Keep well and Gluten Free,
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