The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.
Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) onsite scientist Nitin Joshi has helped Pizza Hut launch handcrafted Detroit-Style pizza nationwide.
Joshi, vice president of product development, said the new offering has 50 percent 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, who goes by the nickname “Dr. Cheese.”
“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, including Double Cheesy, which is layered with two kinds of cheese, Double Pepperoni, Meaty Deluxe and Supremo. The pies are being offered on a limited-time-only basis.
Joshi worked on a good portion of this project from his house 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.”
The Pizza Hut team and franchise owners also are appreciative of Joshi’s commitment to this project, which joins a line of innovate items such as Original Stuffed Crust and Original Pan.
“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.”