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May 18, 2010

You Can't Top Tofurky's New Pizza

Seth Tibbot freezes out the competition

The Humane Society of the United States

  • Tofurky's new vegan pizza line features Daiya dairy-free cheese and Tofurky's meat-free toppings. Tofurky

Seth Tibbott is the founder of the meat alternative company with a household name: Tofurky.

His company just launched a ground-breaking product—the first-ever frozen pizza covered in non-dairy cheese and vegetarian meat toppings.

The HSUS' Josh Balk recently spoke with Seth regarding his new dairy- and meat-free pizzas and how they're appealing to meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

How did you come up with the concept for your new frozen pizza line?

Our mission has always been to look for areas where we can expand choices for people wanting something healthier. We started down this path in 1995 when we introduced the first Tofurky Roast at Thanksgiving. People would write us long letters (before email) thanking us for bringing them into the celebration. "I've waited 20 years for this product," one woman wrote. 

In 2003, the Tofurky sausages opened up the outdoor grill for many. So it is in this vein that we offer frozen pizzas with the fabulous melty and stretchy Daiya tapioca-based cheese, Tofurky Pepperoni, and Tofurky Italian Sausage with sun-dried tomatoes and basil. Our motto is "No pizza lover left behind."

What are the health differences between Tofurky pizzas and pizzas that use dairy cheese and meat from animals?

Pizza is an incredibly popular food. In the United States alone, about 37,000 acres of pizza are consumed each year.  

Lost in the shuffle is the plain fact that pizza is not exactly health food. For example, a 100-gram serving of pepperoni pizza packs about 15 mg of cholesterol, 620 mg of sodium, 15g of fat and 5 g of saturated fat.  

By comparison, 100 grams of Tofurky Pepperoni pizza has 0 g of cholesterol, 330 mg of sodium, 6 grams of fat and 1 gram of saturated fat. All of our pizzas are cholesterol-free and have significantly less sodium and fat than their meat- and dairy-based counterparts.

Where can people purchase your frozen pizzas?

In March, we introduced these pizzas at the Expo West Trade Show in Anaheim, Calif., where we received the coveted "Best New Vegetarian Product" honor from VegNews magazine. Some of the stores that carry the pizzas so far are Ralph's in Southern California, Fred Meyer in the Pacific Northwest, Woodman's in Wisconsin, Giant/Eagle in Pittsburgh, Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco, and many other independent natural food stores.  

Several divisions of Whole Foods have also committed to bringing in the pizzas, so people can check with their nearest location to see when they might arrive. By the way, the first store to carry these was Food Fight, a small vegan grocery in Portland. He sold more than 600 pizzas during the first two weeks of selling them.

What feedback have you received?

Across the board, people have been very impressed, from our taste panels to the carnivorous pizza buyers in corporate boardrooms. But the biggest testimony comes from our omnivorous plant mechanics who have been taking them home at night!
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