Your next pizza night could be getting an upgrade. Hormel, a huge supplier to restaurants and the seller of the most-popular conventional pepperoni in the U.S., has just launched a next-level vegan pepperoni. The soy-based peps are now available for local restos and pizzerias to order and add to their menus.
“Our team worked closely with pizzerias, chefs, food service operators and pizza experts to develop a plant-based pepperoni style topping that cooks and tastes exactly like traditional pepperoni,” Hormel’s pizza toppings brand manager (what a job title!), Anthony Panichelli, said in a statement to the press announcing the new product.
Hormel’s vegan pepperoni are primarily soy (full nutrition facts available online) and feature a mix of garlic, paprika, and spices similar to the company’s animal-based product. In fact, Panichelli boasts, “many people may have a hard time tasting the difference between Happy Little Plants brand pepperoni style topping and traditional pepperoni.”
Happy Little Plants is Hormel’s plant-based protein products line, launched in 2019. That label already offered four plant-based protein options for restaurant buyers, an Italian sausage crumble, chorizo crumble, unseasoned ground “meat,” and a meatball. The meatball contains dairy ricotta cheese; all other products are vegan.
The entire Happy Little Plants line is available to commercial, food industry purchasers – but not for individuals to buy at retail outlets, at least for now. So if you want to get a taste, let your local pizzeria know. Consider encouraging them to carry vegan cheese, too, if they don’t already.
Hormel’s vegan pepperoni are not what Pizza Hut used in their own limited-release of veggie ‘roni earlier this month. That chain partnered with Beyond Meat to create the offering (which this author has not tried, as it was released online in Georgia, Texas, Florida, and Albany, New York). It’s also not the vegan pepperoni Little Caesars added to menus in July; that one is manufactured by Field Roast and called “planteroni,” which is such a fun word and we hope it catches on.