Joshi, vice president of product development, said the new offering has 50% more cheese than a similar rectangular pizza on the chain’s menu.
The project was in the works for more than a year and began from a brainstorm session between DMI and Pizza Hut team members. The group often meets to determine “what is next,” Joshi said, and they recognized growing consumer interest and trends in Detroit-style pizza.
Each pizza is rectangular-shaped and features cheese all the way to the edges to create a crispy, caramelized crust. The pizza is loaded with toppings and finished with a vine-ripened tomato sauce. Joshi said he and the Pizza Hut team experimented and made as many as 600 pizzas before settling on the final product.
“There were a lot of challenges along the way with ingredients to assure that proper baking and quality could be accomplished in Pizza Hut restaurants across the country,” said Joshi.
“We worked through those challenges and I’m really proud and happy with the final result. I think the dairy community will really love this pizza and in seeing more cheese as a key ingredient.”
There are four Detroit-Style recipes: Double Cheesy, which is layered with two kinds of cheese, including aged Parmesan, Double Pepperoni, Meaty Deluxe and Supremo (Italian sausage, red onions and green bell peppers).
One slice of the Double Cheesy contains 310 calories, 14g of fat (22% of the daily recommended value based on a 2,000 calorie diet), 7g of which is saturated (35% of the daily recommended value), 35mg of cholesterol (12% of daily recommended amount), 630mg of sodium (26% of daily recommended amount), and 15g of protein.
The pizzas are being offered on a limited-time-only basis nationwide for contactless delivery, carryout or curbside pickup starting at $10.99.
Joshi worked on a portion of this project from his home because of work-from-home measures instituted by Pizza Hut’s headquarters in Plano, Texas, during the height of COVID-19 last year.
“Working through this in a lockdown environment shows Nitin’s commitment to seeing this project through,” said Bernardo Callejas, senior vice president of global innovation partnerships for DMI.
“There is nothing like having a dairy champion embedded in our partnerships to make sure what we’re developing and working on brings the highest return on investment for our farmer and importer checkoff funders. This was Nitin’s baby for the last year. He lived and breathed Detroit pizza every single day.”
“Nitin’s drive, passion and vision for Detroit-Style pizza showed every day,” said Penny Shaheen, senior director of food innovation at Pizza Hut.
“We’re thrilled to add another innovative and flavorful offering to our menu that responds to the trends we see that meet our consumers’ needs.”
DMI is funded by America’s 34,000 dairy farmers, as well as dairy importers. Created to help increase sales and demand for dairy products, DMI and its related organizations work to increase demand for dairy through research, education and innovation, and to maintain confidence in dairy foods, farms and businesses. DMI manages the National Dairy Council and the American Dairy Association, and founded the U.S. Dairy Export Council, and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.