Papa John’s New ‘Organic’ Ingredients Are at Least Morally Superior

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Now with even better better ingredients. Photo: Paul Rivera/CC/flickr

The “better ingredients” used to make Papa John’s “better pizza” will finally include a couple of organic ones — for people in Lexington, Kentucky’s delivery range, at least. That’s where the chain says it’s launched a pilot program intended to “build upon its commitment to BETTER INGREDIENTS. BETTER PIZZA.” So what does this “exciting new menu initiative” mean for customers in that area? Organic versions of four popular Papa John’s toppings — Roma tomatoes, green peppers, yellow onions, and mushrooms.

To make this switch, Papa John’s says it’s partnered with Green Bean Delivery, a service that delivers all-natural groceries, to source produce from organic farms around the country. The dough, sauce, cheese, and any meat — so, 98 percent of the pizza — will continue to contain conventional ingredients for the time being. Chief ingredient officer Sean Muldoon tells Max Goldberg, of the organic-food blog Living Maxwell, that creating an entirely organic pizza “would take some time,” but, hey, “never say never!”

In a separate statement about the rollout, Muldoon says that testing organic produce “is a natural progression as Papa John’s takes pride in our position of having the cleanest label in the pizza industry,” which one can’t help but ascribe to the fact that customers keep telling Muldoon, and everybody else at the company, that they “want to know where their food comes from and how it is produced.” Papa John’s hasn’t always been super helpful in this regard — it made life pretty difficult for a journalist back in 2013, when she tried to see if Papa John’s ingredients were objectively “better” than the competition’s. Also, Pizza Hut released a pizza with some organic toppings in 2008, but there’s no reason Papa John’s can’t still consider this a good baby step.

Papa John’s Tests New Morally Superior ‘Organic’ Ingredients