Papa John's testing gluten-free pizza crust

by Monica Watrous
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Papa John's gluten-free pizza crust
Papa John's gluten-free crust is made with sorghum, teff, amaranth and quinoa.

LOUISVILLE, KY. — Papa John’s International is testing a gluten-free pizza crust made with ancient grains in select markets. Made with sorghum, teff, amaranth and quinoa, the crust is currently being tested in locations in Los Angeles, Phoenix, St. Louis, Houston and Nashville.

The Papa John’s research and development team spent more than a year developing the crust, which has a hearty flavor and robust texture, according to the company.

Sean Muldoon, Papa John's
Sean Muldoon, chief ingredient officer at Papa John’s

“This is something we’ve heard from our customers for some time, but we were never satisfied with the flavor profile of the gluten-free crusts options we tasted — that is until now,” said Sean Muldoon, chief ingredient officer at Papa John’s. “At Papa John’s, we listen to our customers, and not only do they want to know where their food comes from but they are also concerned about what goes into their food. Or in this case, what is not included in their food: gluten.”

Papa John’s gluten-free crust is prepared in a separate, gluten-free facility before it is shipped to stores, but because it may be exposed to gluten in the in-store, pizza-making process, the company does not recommend the crust for consumers with celiac disease or serious gluten intolerances.

The introduction of gluten-free crust is the latest in a series of changes the pizza chain has made to keep pace with evolving consumer preferences. Last year, the brand eliminated artificial flavors and synthetic colors across its menu, transitioned the chicken used in grilled chicken pizza toppings and poppers to be fed on a vegetarian diet and raised without human or animal antibiotics, and switched to cage-free eggs. The company also removed from its entire food menu ingredients such as preservatives BHA and BHT, flavor enhancer MSG, cellulose and partially hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup. 
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