About a year from making the switch on its signature product, Pizza Hut announced Tuesday (June 19) a plan to step into a wing category all its own. By 2022, the YUM Brands! chain said it will serve chicken raised free of antibiotics important to human medicine (per World Health Organization). This includes all chicken, including its WingStreet Wings. Just about a year ago, Pizza Hut completed the removal of antibiotics from its chicken for pizza. The move will make it the first pizza company to commit to an antibiotic-free policy for chicken wings, Pizza Hut claims.

“We are dedicated to listening to our customers and to serving better food. Today’s announcement to no longer serve chicken raised with antibiotics by 2022 demonstrates our commitment to serve food that not only tastes great, but that customers can feel good about eating,” Marianne Radley, chief brand officer, said in a statement. “Our customers are our business, and we will continue to push ourselves to ensure that we are delivering the quality food and quality experience our customers expect and deserve.”

Pizza Hut previously announced a commitment to eliminate BHA/BHT from all meats in summer 2016, and the use of artificial preservatives from cheese in 2017. Pizza Hut became the first national pizza restaurant to remove artificial flavors and colors from its core pizzas in 2015. Additionally, Pizza Hut eliminated partially hydrogenated oils (artificial trans fats) and MSG. In the past six years, the chain has removed 3 million pounds of salt from its ingredients.

Added Radley: “The Pizza Hut culinary team has done a terrific job of listening to the voice of the customer, and have worked tirelessly to mind emerging health trends while not impacting the great taste that makes our food so special.”

Pizza Hut doesn’t use fillers in meat toppings. Its Italian sausage is all-natural and sourced from U.S. farmers, and meatballs are free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. The brand said it also does not add sugar or oil to its pizza marinara sauce, and its cheese is made from 100 percent whole Mozzarella.

Pizza Hut had same-store sales increases of 2 percent in the U.S. in Q1 and has put together three consecutive positive reports.

The chain announced in May that it was expanding its beer delivery test to nearly 100 stores across Arizona and California. In mid-May, Pizza Hut unveiled a deal with Telepizza Group to accelerate growth across Latin America (excluding Brazil), the Caribbean, Spain (including Andorra), Portugal, and Switzerland.

Fast Food, Menu Innovations, Pizza, Story, Pizza Hut