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Pizza Hut jumps on board flatbread trend

Pizza Hut today introduced a new style of pizza to add to its portfolio of thin crust, pan crust and stuffed crust. The Firebaked Style Flatbread Pizzas, now available in the U.S. only, feature a "wood-fired style" crust, "high-quality cheese" and "toppings that extend to the edges," according to a news release.

The Flatbreads come six to a box, and can be topped three different ways with up to three toppings each — all for $11.99.

"We wanted to give our fans a lighter crust experience that doesn't skimp on flavor and believe we've delivered that with our Firebaked Style Flatbread Pizzas," said Kurt Kane, chief marketing officer at Pizza Hut. "We take pride in our food innovation chops. Our latest creation is yet another example of how we pay close attention to what consumers want and bring it to them in a very accessible, convenient and value-focused way."

According to GuestMetrics, the pizza segment turned in strong sales in Q1 2013, driven in large part by expanded flatbread offerings. GuestMetrics pulled numbers from its POS database, which showed more than $8 billion in sales in 2012 and 8.8 percent growth in Q1.

"To put the importance of this in perspective, while non-flatbread pizzas were 83 percent of total pizza sales in Q1 '13, about 60 percent of the incremental growth for pizza was due to strength in flatbread pizzas," said Peter Reidhead, vice president of strategy and insights at GuestMetrics.

Earlier this year, Pizza Hut launched Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza, which joined the menu of its original Thin 'n Crispy, signature Pan and Stuffed Crust.

"Our food innovation team is encouraged to experiment and create recipes that change the way America consumes pizza," said Executive Chef Wiley Bates III. "We didn't invent flatbread pizza, but Pizza Hut's Firebaked Style Flatbread Pizzas strike the perfect balance between a product that's hot given current food trends and one that delivers an eating experience that is perfect for our customers."

Read more about food and beverage introductions.

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