Little Caesars has teamed up with plant-based burger maker Impossible Foods to test out meatless sausage crumbles as a topping option on pizza, becoming the latest chain to join the bandwagon of adding meat substitute items to menus.
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Customers will be able to get their hands on Little Caesars’ Impossible Supreme Pizza at 58 locations in Fort Myers, Fla., Yakima, Wash., and Albuquerque, N.M., starting Monday. The meatless sausage crumbles will top a $12 pizza that also contains mushrooms, caramelized onions, and green peppers.
Little Caesars will offer the item to all U.S. locations if the pizza receives positive feedback.
Meatless meat options have been the latest craze in the food industry.
Impossible Foods, founded in 2011, worked with Burger King to launch the Impossible Whopper, a burger with a plant-based patty. The test run received such a positive response that the fast food chain announced last month the burger will be available in stores nationwide.
Little Caesars approached Impossible Foods earlier this year to create a menu item to satisfy meat and veggie lovers.
Impossible’s sausage is made in the same way as its burger. The company uses heme — the protein molecule that gives meat its juicy texture — from the roots of soy plants. Instead of harvesting it from individual plants, Impossible makes batches of heme by fermenting yeast that is genetically encoded with the soy plants' DNA. To make "meat," heme is mixed with other ingredients like soy protein, coconut oil and sunflower oil.
The company mixed a custom sweet Italian seasoning for the meatless sausages being offered at Little Caesars.
Impossible Foods and its rival, Beyond Meat, are among the rapidly-expanding companies offering plant-based meat options to restaurants and fast food chains.
Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons announced last week that it will be testing Beyond Meat’s breakfast sausage on the Beyond Meat Vegan Sandwich, Beyond Meat Breakfast Sandwich and the Beyond Meat Farmers Breakfast Wrap. Several locations in Canada will have the items as a test-run.
Earlier this month, Beyond Meat debuted on the Nasdaq; its stock price has more than tripled since the IPO.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.