Udi’s Scores Big With Pizza Hut & GIG Gluten Free Pizza Review

Pizza Hut Gluten Free Pizza Review

I just got home from Dallas, TX, where I had the opportunity to attend a press trip to Pizza Hut headquarters. Why the heck would I go to Pizza Hut? Well, you might have heard about their new collab with Udi’s and GIG on a new gluten-free pizza. As you can tell by my THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS of shares and “likes” of my news-breaking story about this pizza, people are excited. But, like I expected – people are also very apprehensive (especially after big fails like Domino’s…). This is my story about exploring the new Pizza Hut endeavor.

**DISCLAIMER: I was reimbursed for any of my travel expenses during this press trip. That’s pretty typical for any blogger press trip. I was also given a gift basket full of Udi’s gluten-free products – but you already know that they’re one of my GFBFFs. I received several Pizza Hut gift cards, but those are for my readers. The fact that I received a press trip to Dallas does not reflect in my review of the product. I am not, as a Twitter troll stated, a shill for Pizza Hut now – but thanks for raising my blood pressure.**

#UdisPizzaHut

FOR MORE INFORMATION: https://order.pizzahut.com/glutenfree

So why, oh why, am I getting excited for a massive quick service restaurant doing a gluten-free pizza?

They are doing it right.

They are working with the biggest gluten-free brand in North America – Udi’s Gluten Free – that offers certified products and rigid standards. They are working with a top consultant in the gluten-free world – Gluten Intolerance Group’s Gluten-Free Food Service Training & Management Certification Program (GFFS). The Pizza Hut genuinely cares and wants this program to succeed. A brand manager said to us, “we want to do it the right way – we love our community and don’t want them to get sick.”

#UdisPizzaHut

#UdisPizzaHut

HERE ARE THE FACTS!

WHY NOW?

  • Gluten free is a super huge trend in food service right now. According to a Pizza Hut brand rep, the “when are we going to have gluten free pizza?” is the biggest question she’s heard from customers in years.

WHERE?

  • The launch for this pizza will be in 2,400 Pizza Hut stores across the US. These will be in large markets, small markets, and everything in between.
  • You can find a list of these stores and the store near you on MONDAY 1/26/15 at https://order.pizzahut.com/glutenfree
  • These stores were the ones that bought into the concept and wanted to bring the gluten-free pizza to their restaurant
  • This will grow based on demand, so if you want gluten-free at a store near you – TELL THEM! If you have the gluten-free pizza at a store near you – EAT IT.

TRAINING

  • Company-wide training happened last week, and online/webinar training also happened last week.
  • Many readers were asking “what about new employees after this company-wide training?” They will receive online training, as well as training with a manager before they are allowed to make one of these gluten-free GIG certified pizzas
  • Managers will watch the gluten-free program closely. If there are any struggles with the team members or the process, they will immediately let Pizza Hut know, so Pizza Hut can best modify the process for the team.
  • Readers also asked about the “teenagers” that work at Pizza Hut (implying that they just don’t care about rules)? How do I know that they will take it seriously? Well, honestly, you don’t. But that applies to any employee the second you step foot outside of your house. However, Pizza Hut has rigid training programs in place. Other restaurants don’t.

 PROCESS

  • The restaurants that have gluten-free items available do NOT have “flour flying all over the air” like what you think of when you think of a typical pizzeria. Therefore you will not have to worry about the loose flour transmitting to your pizza in the oven, or flour on someone’s apron accidentally touching your pizza (even though that’s also a health code violation on top of being gross).
  • New gloves are required at the start of the process. This entire process is laid out on laminated infographic-type cards for employees to get a step-by-step reminder of how to keep us safe. Unfortunately, it’s proprietary material so I can’t photograph it.
  • The Udi’s crust (just like the ones we buy in the freezer at the store) is wrapped and stored in a separate container, on a separate shelf in our fridge (above the gluten-containing ones in case of crumbs falling).
  • The cheese, marinara sauce and pepperoni are stored in a gluten-free designated kit – as seen below in my picture from the trip. Everything is stored in this purple plastic labeled kit, only – this is the only place they will live. Everything is in specific purple color-coded containers. 
  • Every gluten-free pizza is freshly baked on designated parchment paper in our ovens on top of the pizza pans. They do not touch the pans. Every pizza is baked on this parchment paper to avoid cross-contamination. 
  • By order of operations, even if the pizza had additional (non certified, but naturally gluten free) toppings added to it, the containers and the cheese wouldn’t touch these toppings because they are always added first.
  • The pizza is cut with a designated cutter in a special box at the end of the line. “Regular” pizzas are cut with a giant awesome-looking cutter, while these special pizzas are cut with a cutter that you’d have in your kitchen for pizza. And yes, I was terrible at cutting my own pizza – just like I am at home.
  • The gluten-free pizza comes in its own Udi’s branded box. You can’t miss it.
#UdisPizzaHut

#UdisPizzaHut 

TASTE

  • So here’s the deal. I’m dairy free and I’m beef free, on top of gluten free. I am the worst person to actually consume this pizza (but I’m here as a member of the press, not as a professional pizza eater, although I fancy myself one occasionally). The cheese is real dairy and the pepperoni is a mix of pork and beef. So, while all the other bloggers had a delicious pizza that looks like a “typical” pizza, I…had crust…and sauce.
  • And I broke the rules. I asked for additional toppings – you know, the ones that aren’t certified by GIG although they are naturally gluten free (like this spinach pictured below). The test kitchen got me fresh ingredients that were not touched by anyone else. Can this happen at your local Pizza Hut? Sure. You can always request fresh uncontaminated ingredients from the back. Just like what I do at Chipotle. It’s really cheating their system to mitigate cross contamination.
  • However, please note, that you are ultimately in control of your health. There are certain procedures in place in a regular Pizza Hut to keep you as safe as humanely possible. If you request to go outside these perimeters, note that it’s no longer a GIG restaurant certified option. You’re basically assuming the same risk that you would have at any other restaurant that you would ask for special attention while dining out.
  • My pizza, although barren compared to the other bloggers’ pizzas, was still delicious. Just like Udi’s at home. The sauce is killer – and apparently compared to other people who know Pizza Hut pizza, it makes the pizza taste more like a “regular” one. I use tomato paste at home, and this was a total sauce upgrade.
#UdisPizzaHut

#UdisPizzaHut

#UdisPizzaHut

#UdisPizzaHut

CUSTOMER FEEDBACK/COMPLAINTS/FOLLOW UP

  • There will be a specific process for gluten-free complaints – don’t worry, your complaints will be heard by the TOP brand people at Pizza Hut – they are taking this VERY seriously.
  • Customers can call the consumer hotline (1-800-948-8488) or leave a message on the “contact us” page.
  • There will be a specific choice in the “contact us” form for gluten-free (see photo).
Pizza Hut Gluten Free Contact Form

Pizza Hut Gluten Free Contact Form

  • Like other typical GFCO/GIG certified places, GIG will do regular audits at random to make sure the proper procedures are in place. Pizza Hut also conducts their own audits as well.
  • I begged them to partner with Daiya cheese to offer a GF DF option. Cross your fingers they’re like “that dairy-free girl is so smart” and investigate it further. Feel free to ping them about offering a dairy free option as well. However, you can order the pizza without cheese right now.
  • I also begged them to offer additional toppings in a “certified” option from GIG, but they are just running with this program right now to see how it all turns out. Fingers crossed it goes well and they offer all of their toppings in a certified package at each restaurant – that would be so great!

So, overall I was very impressed with how they worked with Udi’s and GIG to make this the safest possible option. But I still want to know – what are your thoughts? Would you/will you eat here?

FOR MORE INFORMATION: https://order.pizzahut.com/glutenfree

I know many of you are excited about this option, so let’s get you some gift cards! To be eligible to win, follow the terms and conditions on the Rafflecopter below.

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Comments: 73

  1. Tina January 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm Reply

    My 10 y/o son is so excited to try this pizza!

  2. Lindsey Rivir January 24, 2015 at 12:34 pm Reply

    Can’t wait to try it! Looks delicious!

  3. Melissa Kuhl January 24, 2015 at 12:37 pm Reply

    Are the GF pizzas going through the oven separate? I can’t imagine that pans of GF would go alongside regulars.

    • Erica Dermer January 24, 2015 at 6:36 pm Reply

      Yes, if you see the photos, they are in the “oven” – which is more like a line moving the pizzas through than a true oven, but they are on individual pans with parchment paper.

  4. Heather Dryer January 24, 2015 at 12:38 pm Reply

    Thanks for the info. Hope there is a store near me that participates

  5. Lauren January 24, 2015 at 12:38 pm Reply

    I’m so glad Pizza Hut is doing this! It will definitely help me to feel “normal” since pizza seems to be the go-to food for parties all. I have a feeling I will have to keep requesting it for my local Pizza Hut to get it, but I’m hopeful they do soon!

  6. amelia January 24, 2015 at 12:40 pm Reply

    thank you so much for reviewing and i can’t wait to try!

  7. Patti January 24, 2015 at 12:41 pm Reply

    I am excited to know that Pizza Hut is taking the cross contamination issue so seriously. I’m a little disappointed that the only “safe” toppings are sauce, cheese and pepperoni, but I guess it’s a starting point. I really hope this is a success and Pizza Hut will branch out in other certified toppings…as well as add Daiya cheese! :)

  8. kate t January 24, 2015 at 1:04 pm Reply

    There aren’t any PH near us on the Cape but there is one out near my boyfriend’s sisters, so I *might* get to try it some day!

  9. Lori Williams January 24, 2015 at 1:11 pm Reply

    I am very excited. My son and I were talking about this the other day and we both had lots of questions about cross contamination. You have answered them all!! Thank you so much for sharing. Our local Pizza Hut is not on the the initial list, but we will try it when we pass by another not to far away. Thanks again!!

  10. Yolanda January 24, 2015 at 1:12 pm Reply

    I’m impressed that they are doing it the right way! I’m excited to try one :)

  11. Paula Sadler January 24, 2015 at 1:53 pm Reply

    I am so excited to try their pizza! Like others I was concerned about the measures to ensure our safety. But from your post, it looks like they are definitely doing it right! Thanks for your review!

  12. Stephanie January 24, 2015 at 2:13 pm Reply

    Was just reading through the Pizza Hut FAQ you linked to, and they don’t say that this product is safe for celiacs, but rather skirt this issue entirely. I have to say I’m pretty disappointed. Why go through all the trouble of partnering with GIG and Udi’s if you’re not going to make it safe for the people who are consistently left out?

    • Erica Dermer January 24, 2015 at 6:35 pm Reply

      Rarely RARELY do you ever have a restaurant say that it’s “safe” for celiacs. They ALWAYS need to have legal that covers their butts for liability purposes. Every time you leave your house, you are leaving a celiac “safe” zone. But, you CAN mitigate that risk.

  13. danni January 24, 2015 at 2:28 pm Reply

    I am so excited pizza Hut Will be offering safe gluten free pizza!

  14. Coco January 24, 2015 at 2:33 pm Reply

    Looking forward to trying this!

  15. Amanda January 24, 2015 at 3:13 pm Reply

    I can’t wait! I love pizza!!!! I haven’t had pizza hut for 16 years! So happy they are doing it the right way!

  16. Darissa perry January 24, 2015 at 4:06 pm Reply

    I’m so happy they ate trying their best to do this right! Thank you for the detailed info on how they do their preporations and cooking! We will try out. It will be so nice to have another option when traveling too!

  17. Michelle P January 24, 2015 at 5:41 pm Reply

    I’m getting good at these Twitter events. I’m a little excited to see if there will be a Pizza Hut store by me that will have the gluten free pizza crust and toppings. I’ve been following yourself and a few other bloggers & the Pizza Hut Gluten Free launch. I like to be informed, even if I never set foot in a Pizza Hut, nice to know I might have that option.

  18. Dana Coughlin January 24, 2015 at 5:58 pm Reply

    Its great they are taking the cross contamination issue seriously. I hope they will have more toppings available later.

  19. Miranda January 24, 2015 at 6:10 pm Reply

    I’m so excited for this!! Finally I’ll be able to call and get pizza delivered with my friends 😀 I really hope this is happening in Corpus Christi! Regardless, it’s a great thing.

  20. Jeffrey January 24, 2015 at 6:26 pm Reply

    It’s nice to know that the products are stored separate but it worries me that the employees won’t be trained well enough to realize the importance.

  21. Staci A January 24, 2015 at 6:28 pm Reply

    I loved learning about their procedures and am excited that gf options are becoming more and more available. (As with any time I eat out, I’m sure I’ll still worry about cc though.)

  22. Diane Humphrey January 24, 2015 at 6:41 pm Reply

    Thanks for all of this info. I am anxious to see if any Huts in our area will be participating…

  23. Monica January 24, 2015 at 7:05 pm Reply

    Sounds interesting. Will try it without the pepperoni.

  24. Tim Hughes January 24, 2015 at 8:00 pm Reply

    I can not wait to try this! Sounds crazy to trust a pizza place due to the risk of cross contamination but I love having this option. Cooking for ourselves is great but we all need a break once in a while. Pizza Hut seems to be taking this serious for now so I would love to get a chance to try it. Just wondering if you felt that the process they followed for cooking in the ovens was safe or if the chance of cross contamination was risky? Thanks for the great article.

  25. kate p January 24, 2015 at 8:17 pm Reply

    I am excited!!!! I LOVE Udi’s so this makes me very happy!!!

  26. Erin Smith January 24, 2015 at 8:33 pm Reply

    Thanks for such a thorough write-up! Here’s hoping this is a success on all fronts. Kudos to Pizza Hut for being transparent with their plans and process.

  27. Cassandra January 24, 2015 at 10:39 pm Reply

    I really hope this goes well! I’d love to see them add more certified choices and even other foods in the future.

  28. Shelley January 25, 2015 at 8:12 am Reply

    I got cross contaminated at Domino’s. I am super looking forward to trying the Pizza Hut pizza that is super careful with how they do things. Thank you for the info!

  29. Kim B January 25, 2015 at 8:18 am Reply

    It sounds like Pizza Hut is really trying to do this right. I really hope that the employees are all trained to follow these procedures all the time and understand how serious it is for those of us who are putting our lives in their hands. Thank you for the thorough review!

  30. Stephanie Steinmetz January 25, 2015 at 8:59 am Reply

    Thank you so much for this! I do not see, though, a list of stores participating. Is there a list? Again, thank you so much! And Domino’s was such an epic fail that we were nervous, but this is awesome!

  31. Aardvark Mom January 25, 2015 at 9:25 am Reply

    Aardvark Boy #1 is so excited to try this! I am also excited about the prospect of casein-free cheese! Please, Pizza Hut!

  32. Jill January 25, 2015 at 9:29 am Reply

    I am excited to have another option when we travel!

  33. Katie January 25, 2015 at 10:38 am Reply

    Looking forward to trying this! Glad they are doing it right.

  34. Cyndi Ivy January 25, 2015 at 11:06 am Reply

    Thank you for posting this! My confidence level in this has gone way up! Also, it seems Udi’s upgraded their own ingredients a bit (I can’t eat potato or white rice), so I’m giving this a try – tomorrow if one of our local stores has the option!

  35. Meridith January 25, 2015 at 12:30 pm Reply

    I wasn’t so excited when I first heard about this because I was never a fan of Pizza Hut before my gluten problems, but now I’m willing to try this out! you excited me!

  36. Jessica January 25, 2015 at 12:36 pm Reply

    I’m looking forward to this if it’s available in my area. I’m definitely more confident of Pizza Hut’s handling of a GF pizza, just because they have gone to the right people to see how to do it right. Unfortunately, because of the egg in the crust, it won’t be something for all of the GF people in our family, but it’s definitely something for mama once the kids are in bed! 😉

  37. Andi Mills January 25, 2015 at 1:34 pm Reply

    Awesome! I can’t wait to see if our little town is on the list! And the Daiya cheese idea is great!!!!

  38. Lauren January 25, 2015 at 1:34 pm Reply

    Very excited to see this! I hope it’s coming to the Pizza Hut near me – I live in a teeny, tiny town in west Texas. Thanks for the info!

  39. Tara January 25, 2015 at 2:52 pm Reply

    So excited to try this. I called the local Pizza Hut after reading it to see if they carry them and they do!!!! I love the UDI’s pizza crusts you get in the store already so I’m sure these will also be great tasting!

  40. jackie January 25, 2015 at 2:56 pm Reply

    Tried the Domino’s it was ok, so I can’t wait to try Pizza Hut’s.

  41. Sarah January 25, 2015 at 3:06 pm Reply

    Thank you. Before my son was diagnosed with Celiac, Pizza Hut was a favorite. It is good to know they are taking GF seriously and we will be able to enjoy their pizza again!

  42. Jen H January 25, 2015 at 3:44 pm Reply

    I wish there was the option of having Diaya cheese on it for those of us who are gluten and dairy-free. That would be awesome instead of having a more bare pizza. But we still enjoy Udi’s at home!

  43. Jennifer January 25, 2015 at 7:52 pm Reply

    pizza does sound good tomorrow! :)

  44. Kristina F. January 25, 2015 at 8:01 pm Reply

    Is it Pizza Hut sauce or Udi’s sauce? I want PH breadsticks!

  45. Bekah January 25, 2015 at 9:26 pm Reply

    It would be nice to go out to eat with my family. We don’t have any restaurants near me that can do gf.

  46. Christina January 25, 2015 at 9:33 pm Reply

    I am nervous because of the usual concerns regarding cross-contamination. I am excited because it allows gluten free persons like myself to place an order and not have to feel like every meal is a project just because you’re gluten free it helps you feel more normal

  47. Elizabeth Bergeron January 25, 2015 at 10:16 pm Reply

    I’m hoping they add sausage, soon. 😀

  48. Kati January 26, 2015 at 10:09 am Reply

    Your post helped me feel a little better about it, but I’m still worried about cross contamination. Staff training will be key to pulling this off.

  49. Lori Jackson January 26, 2015 at 12:18 pm Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing this amazing review…it gives peace of mind now when deciding where to eat that offers gluten free!

  50. clothespin January 26, 2015 at 3:55 pm Reply

    I’m nervous that this will be like Dominoes. We’re mainly FODMAP, so a bit of contamination doesn’t make us sick (though too much does) and the Dominoes pizza always made my stomach hurt. Worse than normal gluten pizza does. So, word to Pizza Hut – don’t be like Dominoes. Thanks.

  51. Jessica January 26, 2015 at 4:20 pm Reply

    I can’t wait to try it out!

  52. withheld January 26, 2015 at 4:58 pm Reply

    Regardless of what anyone is saying, and what practices Pizza Hut employs, there is a chance for cross contamination. And chances are it’s from the same source that caused problems for people at Domino’s: the oven. It’s great that they’re going through all of the trouble to make sure that cross-contamination is at a minimum regarding the ingredients being used and I applaud them for that. But unless they’re using a separate oven for the gluten free pizzas, cross-contamination is still a very real risk (assuming that they use ovens similar to Domino’s). These ovens are essentially conveyer belts that move the pizza through the oven. These ovens also have air blowers and exhaust systems in place. Because of this, dust is flying all over inside the oven. After working at Domino’s for 15 years before I was diagnosed as a Celiac, I can attest that at the end of the day the ovens can be coated with particles of crust, etc. from the pizzas that have been cooked in them. Will I try it? Sure. Do I honestly believe that following the protocols discussed here they can make a truly gluten free pizza with no chance for cross-contamination? Not one bit.

    • Lauren B. February 19, 2015 at 3:25 pm Reply

      Hello – I work at Pizza Hut and can verify that where gluten free pizzas are sold, there is no loose flour. While the pizzas bake in the same oven, there is no flour to ‘blow around’ and land on top of a GF pizza.

  53. Lindsay Reed January 27, 2015 at 7:26 am Reply

    I’m so excited for my daughter to try this Udis pizza!! She was diagnosed 7 months ago and I get so thrilled when I see a new gluten free item at restaurants or in stores :) I’ve also asked pizza Hut to get a gluten free pizza so yay pizza Hut for listening to your customers!

  54. Jillian Harrington January 27, 2015 at 8:31 am Reply

    Interested to give it a try. My son adores Pizza Hut but we typically don’t go there because they can’t accommodate my celiac needs. We’ll have to give it a shot.

  55. Cynthia January 27, 2015 at 11:17 pm Reply

    This is a great summary of the process and procedures Pizza Hut has put in place to offer GF pizza to consumers. I cant wait to try one!

    Thank you very much!

  56. kate January 28, 2015 at 11:10 am Reply

    I am much more sensitive than my daughter. The Papa Murphy’s here uses the udis. Crust and changes out gloves and everything she is able to eat that without Any problems. I know she would love this too. So far mellow. Mushroom has been the only place other than home I could eat but I am always happy to have a new place that she can go.

  57. Christina M. January 28, 2015 at 5:53 pm Reply

    This is really exciting news, because I love pizza! Way to go Pizza Hut for offering gf options!

  58. Katie January 28, 2015 at 7:04 pm Reply

    I’m very excited to try this! It’s not anywhere near where I live right now, but it’s near my parents so the next time I go home to visit, I will be trying it! So exciting! I’m glad they are doing it right!

  59. Maria C January 28, 2015 at 7:21 pm Reply

    excited to try it..need to check on my store location soon

  60. Brianna Hobbs January 28, 2015 at 9:20 pm Reply

    I’m super excited to try the new gf pizza. I hope the Pizza Hut near me has it. If not, I will ask!

  61. Krista January 29, 2015 at 4:46 pm Reply

    I’m excited to have more dining out options!

  62. Kelsey Heathers January 30, 2015 at 12:35 pm Reply

    This is such exciting news! a pizza I could actually eat! I am both Gluten and Dairy free, so I would see if they could just substitute the cheese for feta. I seem to be able to handle that better. I would definitely give this a try!

  63. Emily January 30, 2015 at 1:51 pm Reply

    Finally read this post and so glad I did. This. Is. Awesome.

    Now lets get some non-dairy options :)

  64. Andi Mills January 30, 2015 at 5:13 pm Reply

    My friend ate there the other night and had a serious reaction. He’s allergic to milk. He called and they said that there is cheese in their sauce. Was there cheese in yours?

  65. EVA January 31, 2015 at 8:18 am Reply

    I’ve been antsy for this for so long, and I ALWAYS read reviews before I check something out. Thanks for doing it smack on day 1! I’m also dairy and beef-free, so I’m super happy that they didn’t bitch and actually accommodated. Now I can be the typical pizza-eating college student!

  66. Amy January 31, 2015 at 7:02 pm Reply

    Can’t wait to try this!

  67. paige c February 1, 2015 at 7:47 pm Reply

    I was just telling my bf earlier today about pizza hut teaming with Udi’s and having gf pizza crust now!

  68. Jenifer Wright February 4, 2015 at 1:15 pm Reply

    This is exciting because growing up I loved pizza hut! I am soooo glad that they have done this, cannot wait to add this to my collection on http://www.liv360.com ! Pretty sure I can help someone out who is looking for gluten free recipes there.

  69. Barbara February 17, 2015 at 2:17 pm Reply

    I was so excited about Pizza Hut but then they state not for people with celiac so once again I’m scared. Also why not a few more toppings not just one ( which I personally can’t eat )? I guess I’m lucky as my small town has 4 pizza places( no Pappa Murphys ) with gluten free pizza but once again it’s all about education and who makes your pizza. Our Dominos either burns them or they are raw so make that 3 places. I have found most Mom and Pop pizza joints will order gluten free crusts and take special pride in their preps. My favorite beer is Johnny Appleseed with my pizza. Let’s pray for the “pill” they hope is 7 years away.
    I am excited one Walmart has increased their freezer gluten free area and Aldi’s food chain is great!

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