Ready-to-eat gluten-free pizza crust company Caulipower has added 1,000 retailers since its launch in February, with a product that taps into the current craze for cauliflower, ProjectNosh reports. Originally available in just 30 stores, including select Whole Foods Markets and Bristol Farms, the company now distributes to Albertsons, Harris Teeter, Meijer, Safeway, Wegmans and more.
The pizzas, which come in Margherita, Three-Cheese and Veggie varieties, retail for $7.99-$8.99.Company founder Gail Becker launched Caulipower after she noticed that cauliflower pizza crust, a recipe that was hugely popular on Pinterest and other social media platforms, took hours to prepare at home.
The company aims to appeal to a wider audience than just gluten-free consumers by focusing on pizzas’ vegetable-based nutrition. “Everything about this [product] is trying to make nutrition more accessible for all,” Becker told Project Nosh. “A big part of accessibility is where it’s sold and… you can see from the wide range of retailers. It’s going to be available to many and be for everyone.”
Cauliflower is hugely popular with recipes for rice made from the vegetable trending on social media site Pinterest. Consumers have embraced the vegetable, pulsed in a food processor until it resembles rice or couscous, as a low-carb alternative. Like rice, it absorbs other flavors well, but contains just five grams of carbohydrate and 25 calories per 100 grams, compared to 28 grams of carbohydrate and 130 calories for the same quantity of rice. This has made it a popular addition to weight-loss recipes.
The trend is strong enough to have shaken up the rice industry, which claims that “only rice is rice” and that calling vegetables “rice” could be confusing for consumers. As the U.S. dairy industry so far has failed to argue that the definition of “milk” should exclude plant-based alternatives, it is doubtful the rice industry will have any success in its efforts to convince the FDA to restrict the definition of the cereal grain.
Although cauliflower rice is still the most popular use for the vegetable as an alternative ingredient, there are others including cauliflower mash and cauliflower pizza crust. It will be interesting to see if the popularity of cauliflower applications such as Caulipower's pizza crusts spur major manufacturers to roll out similar products of their own. The industry already has seen the rise of vegetable chips as an alternative to potato chips. Del Monte recently launched a line of vegetable “pasta” with noodles made from vegetables like zucchini, butternut squash, and sweet potato.
Aside from their health credentials, one of the crucial selling points for these products is the fact that homemade versions are time-consuming to make. Companies like Caulipower and Del Monte are betting on the idea that consumers would prefer a convenient product with all the health benefits of the Pinterest version, but without the hard work. As healthy convenience has become a major trend in recent years, it seems to be a savvy prediction.