Following a pilot study run in five cities, Papa John’s has introduced its gluten-free crust made from ancient grains across the United States.

Papa John’s is taking its gluten-free crust, which is crafted using such as ingredients sorghum, teff, amaranth, and quinoa, nationwide. The brand’s Ancient Grains proposition is being promoted with the release of a two-topping pizza now available to consumers in the United States.

The debut is rooted in a pilot testing exercise conducted in Los Angeles, Phoenix, St. Louis, Houston, and Nashville, which found that the availability of a gluten-free option was key in helping people decide on a pizzeria, while highly effective in attracting new customers to the brand.

According to Mintel, gluten-free food sales grew by 178 percent between 2013 and 2016, while the percentage of those eating gluten-free versions of foods that typically contain gluten continues to trend upward. As such, Papa John’s now employs protocols to prevent gluten contact.

Operationally, its crust is prepared in a separate facility before being shipped to stores. However, it is possible for the product to become exposed during the in-store preparation process. The company not recommend its crust for those with Celiac Disease or a serious gluten intolerance.

Last year, the chain removed artificial flavors and synthetic colours from its menu and fully transitioned to chickens fed a vegetarian diet and free of human or animal antibiotics—for its toppings and poppers. In addition to the above, the pizza-maker also went cage-free with its eggs.

“Our gluten-free crust took more than two years to perfect because taste and texture were key factors in the dough development. The fact our pilot customers told us they loved the taste proves we made the right decisions,” said Sean Muldoon, Chief Ingredient Officer at Papa John’s.

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