There’s been no shortage of outside-the-box ideas from Pizza Hut over the last five-plus decades, like the Hot Dog Crust Pizza, the Grilled Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza and even Bigfoot, a two square feet pizza. And this week, the pizza chain is teaming up with Kellogg to launch the new Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza.
Looking to capitalize on the snacking market and the cheesy cracker’s popularity, Pizza Hut’s limited-time menu item includes four crust-infused squares with the sharp cheddar flavor of Cheez-Its, while being stuffed with either cheese or pepperoni and cheese. But, in typical fast food fashion, there has to be something to dip it in, so marinara sauce comes on the side. Not poised to be the main focus of a meal, the giant Cheez-It look alike could serve as a quick grab-and-go or a side dish for a larger dinner, the way the company’s breadsticks and buffalo wings have for so long.
It’s not the first time America’s original pizza chain has partnered with other companies for a specific limited-time menu item, though the majority of the United States-based products have been desserts, such as Hershey’s chocolate brownies and Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. And then there’s the many worldwide partnerships recently, which includes Vegemite and Frito-Lay’s Doritos promotions in Australia. Kellogg has owned Cheez-It since 2001, when the company purchased Keebler, but has since sold off the cookie portion of the company to focus solely on snack food and cereals.
The news comes on the heels of Kellogg announcing plans to launch Incogmeato, a new meat substitute product line from its Morningstar Farms brand that includes burgers and chicken tenders made from non-GMO soy designed to look and taste like meat, much like the Impossible brand. This Cheez-It and pizza mash-up already has the two sides discussing the possibility of bringing the plant-based meat trends to the pizza chain, along with other potential menu items, in 2020.
As the official pizza of the National Football League, expect to see a lot of Pizza Hut commercials highlighting the Stuffed Cheez-It Pizza on Sundays. The company could use a little help too, considering it recently announced several hundred U.S. stores will be closing, though it’s been trending away from traditional sit-down meals. Maybe, if we’re lucky, they’ll release more versions, like white cheddar or Tabasco because, let’s be honest, those flavors are the true unsung heroes when it comes to Cheez-It crackers.