Pizza Hut rolling out all-natural pizza

LOS ANGELES Sat May 10, 2008 6:09am IST

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - YUM! Brands Inc's Pizza Hut said on Friday it is responding to consumer demand for healthier food options by rolling out a new pizza made with all-natural ingredients.

The move comes as Yum is expanding menus at its domestic Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants to better compete with rival fast-food companies.

Consumers are increasingly clamoring for healthier fast-food menu options and are often willing to pay a premium for meals with natural or organic ingredients.

While the overall industry has had mixed results with healthy or low-calorie fare, Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill has grown swiftly on sales of burritos stuffed with naturally raised meats.

The new pizza, called The Natural, has a multigrain crust sweetened with honey, a red sauce made with organic tomatoes and is topped all-natural cheese. Available toppings include all-natural chicken sausage and roasted red peppers.

Kelly Buckley, Pizza Hut's chief food innovation officer, said the natural and organic pizza market is virtually untapped.

"It's a big opportunity for us," she said.

The pizzas, which are already being sold in Seattle, Denver and Dallas, will be available nationwide next year, spokesman Chris Fuller said.

A medium Natural pizza with one topping sells for around $11, about $1 more than the average medium, one-topping pizza, Fuller said.

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