International pizza chain Papa John’s recently added The Vegan Royal pizza to select locations in Chile with a plan to expand the option to its approximately 100 locations across the country. The new pizza features vegan cheese made by United States-based company Follow Your Heart and “NotMeat” made by Chilean startup The Not Company (NotCo). “The exploration of these new groups of consumers [vegans] … has led us to see increased growth projections within the first days of sales,” Martín Cumplido, Assistant Manager of Marketing at Papa John’s Chile, said about the test locations. The Papa John’s partnership represents the public debut of NotCo’s first plant-based meat product. Founded in 2015 by biotech engineer Matías Muchnick, biochemist Pablo Zamora, and computer scientist Karim Pichara, NotCo’s products rely on “Giuseppe,” a discovery platform that identifies plant-based proteins that can mimic animal products. Last year, the startup—which currently makes vegan Not Milk, Not Mayo, and Not IceCream—raised $30 million in investment capital to advance its mission of replacing animal products with viable plant-based alternatives.
Papa John’s has been modernizing its menu globally since the beginning of last year. In the United Kingdom, the chain now serves several vegan options made with Bute Island Foods’ vegan Sheese—including pizzas, Marmite and Cheese Scrolls, and cheesy potato wedges—and recently hired blogger Clare Every as its first “Chief Vegan Officer” to help the chain innovate future options. Earlier this month, Papa John’s became the first fast-food chain in Spain to serve vegan pizza with the launch of Papa John’s Green menu, which features two pizzas: Papa John’s Green (topped with vegetables and vegan cheese) and Papa John’s Green PLUS (topped with vegetables, vegan cheese, and plant-based Beyond Burger meat).