Banza partners with Beyond Meat, Follow Your Heart on pizzas

Dive Brief:

  • Banza, which manufactures food from chickpeas, is introducing two new pizza offerings that include plant-based toppings from Beyond Meat and Danone’s Follow Your Heart. 
  • The two flavors are the Supreme, which uses Beyond Sausage Italian Crumbles and dairy cheese in its recipe, and Plant-Based Cheese, a vegan pie made with Follow Your Heart’s dairy-free mozzarella.
  • After starting out in pasta, Banza branched out into rice in 2019 and then jumped into the pizza category last fall with the debut of its chickpea crust pizzas.

Dive Insight:

Banza has been among the biggest beneficiaries of the move by consumers into plant-based foods. It’s doubling down on that position by partnering with big-name brands in Beyond Meat and Danone’s Follow Your Heart to bring their expertise and brand recognition to Banza’s products.

Banza has acquired a reputation as a leader in products made from chickpeas that are simple and straightforward, like macaroni and cheese, pasta, rice and pizza crusts.

In addition to its own products, Banza has expanded its brand through partnerships with companies like Nestlé. Earlier this year, Nestlé said it was incorporating Banza chickpea pasta into a pair of its newest Life Cuisine offerings.

The new Banza pizzas put the company into more direct competition with Nestlé when it comes to pizza. Nestlé not only owns traditional frozen brands like Tombstone and DiGiorno, but its plant-based brand Sweet Earth also has pizzas with faux chicken, bacon and pepperoni. 

Even though Banza is taking on larger food companies, it has the advantage of starting from a position where it caters to consumers interested in unconventional products aligning with their health, social and environmental goals.

Banza’s pizza launched in October 2020 with four varieties: Four Cheese, Margherita, Roasted Veggie and Plain Crust. In less than a year on the market, it has grown its retail footprint by more than 300%, according to the company. To be sure, the pizza appears to be doing well, but Banza needed a meat-like offering to further expand the appeal of the brand. 

More people are seeking options that are better for them and the environment. By integrating Beyond’s meat and Follow Your Heart’s dairy plant-based ingredients into its recipes, the new Banza products further deliver on both of these accounts as faux meat is linked to better personal and environmental health.

Banza’s pizza represents an opportunity for Beyond Meat and Danone’s Follow Your Heart to expand into products that use their offerings as ingredients. This not only generates revenue for their products but also increases awareness among consumers that they can be used in a variety of ways.

Prepared pizzas are popular, with the category benefiting from consumers staying at home more during the pandemic and the rise in demand for frozen foods. At the same time, the image of this product is evolving to align more closely with the qualities consumers are seeking.

From Caulipower’s cauliflower pizza to Foster Farms’ chicken-crusted pizza, the category has gained an array of unconventional crust ingredients that target various dietary trends. Banza’s chickpea products just add to the list.

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