By Elizabeth Broomhall
Calorie-packed offering likely to punish waistlines across Middle East
US chain Pizza Hut has launched a cheese burger crusted pizza in the Middle East in a bid to tap the region’s love of wacky products and take a greater slice of the international fast food market.
The new 'Crown Crust Pizza' - dubbed a “masterpiece” in the accompanying video advert - is the latest attempt by the company to exploit the region’s acceptance of more innovative products, and to boost its international profits as US restaurant sales recover.
Earlier this week, the firm also launched pies with hot dog-stuffed crusts in the UK in the hopes of winning over the British public.
Pizza Hut is among a string of restaurants launching crazy promotions in other countries, with the likes of Dominoes, Burger King and McDonalds doing the same, according to media reports.
“The pizza is still new, so we have had some people ordering it but not everyone knows about it yet,” said a member of staff at Pizza Hut in the UAE. “For those who don’t know we offer it to them.”
Asked whether those who had ordered the new pizza came back for more, she said most did, but some complained about the salad garnish in the centre of the pizza.
“Because the salad is fresh it is cold, and so we’ve had some people complain and ask why is it cold? That’s the only thing.”
The Middle East has seen a surge in fast food chains entering the market and expanding in recent years as international brands look to bolster sales amid increased competition in their domestic markets.
High demand from locals and expats makes the region a particularly strong market for a wide range of concepts, especially in Gulf countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
In Saudi Arabia, the fast food sector is expected reach a value of US$4.5bn in the next three years, driven by orders from young, affluent citizens, according to a recent report by Euromonitor.
Franchise consultants say that on the back of the expected the growth, they have been bombarded with enquiries from fast food companies - especially from mid-sized firms - eyeing opportunities to open tens of stores around the region.
New Zealand fast food chain Burger Fuel said in December it planned to open another 12 stores across the Middle East in the near future, after regional sales grew by 47.29 percent to hit US$2m, boosted by outlets in Dubai and Saudi Arabia.
Tim Hortons, Canada’s largest restaurant chain, also announced plans to roll out 120 stores in the GCC over the next five years, while Smashburger said it had signed agreements for 17 stores in Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
Unfortunately the growth in the fast food market has been also been partly blamed for bulging waistlines in the region, and the growing health concerns.
The Gulf states have some of the highest rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the world - the UAE ranking only behind the Pacific island of Nauru for diabetes incidence, closely followed by Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Qatar, which has the highest per capita wealth around the globe, is also the obesity capital of the world, with over half the population overweight, according to a report in the UK earlier this month.For all the latest gourmet news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Marvellous. PH again wins the title of "Worst of Both Worlds". Achievement indeed.
While the food in KFC is hardly chicken, Pizzahut has not much to do with actual Pizza...disgusting, at best
West has done the middle east no favour introducing fast food culture to there populations.
HEADLINE SHOULD READ:
Pizza Huts's Pizza Scientists Test Limits Of What Humans Will Eat
Eating a burger or pizza may be short term pleasure for some but it sure is long term pain for all.
All junk food should come with calorie and health warnings (obesity, diabetes etc). You only have to walk around in the foodcourts in the malls to realise the extent of the problem.
Rather than open doors to more corporate greed, its time to declare war against fast food chains and say no more franchises.
The public should be also be educated...they should at least be told the truth about how the food they consume has been processed and the serious impact upon their health.
Let's blame it again on the Fast Food Companies, shall we??- they [Fast Food Companies] like any other business are just trying to make money, that is it - pure and simple.
It just astonishes me that in today's age with easy access to all kinds of research and basic information, AND FRESH FOOD people still eat this type of stuff. Whether we like it or not, it is a conscious choice that people make, they decide to eat it or not knowing full well the potential consequences. It amazes me the lack of willpower and control demonstrated by people around the world when it comes to food! If you know it is bad for you but you go back for more and continue eating it, then you must live with the consequences, that is that! No use blaming it on the Companies that make these types of food, they are not forcing anyone to buy/eat it! They exist simply to make money, if people choose to eat... well let's think who is the smart one here??..
@procan....although its true......it doesnt stop locals from pushing aside their cultural food that is healthy to gobbling up fast food junk by the boatload. Visit the mall from time to time. It's a sea of black and white in the food courts. Buckets of chicken, trays of big macs and big pizzas. Kids drinking giant orange soft drinks. Such a shame. They keep allowing these chains in to fill the region with garbage because the sponsor holding companies keep looking for them to bring them in. Next up....cheesecake factory. There are three major types of restaurants here that stand out over others - the fancy shmancy "hey, look where I'm eating" restaurants (usually endorsed by one of the thousands of famous chefs) with some elite name or junk food vendors or little hole in the wall ethnic places..(Indian, Pakistani, Arabic) that are the best find when you discover one.
Wait until you try the "Kentucky Fried Fudge and Marshmallow Pizza"
I think it's hilarious that the only complaints about it so far have been 'eugh, it's got SALAD on it'.
And the fact that the people complaining whine that the salad is cold, which shows just how unfamiliar they are with healthy eating.
It's NOT solely a conscious choice. It preys upon addiction (sugar, caffeine, et al) and our primal compulsions. You're correct, it's very profitable, but that tends to divert funds and resources away from healthy options.
One possibility for this niche of the food biz is to tax the hell out of it and divert the revenue into a national healthcare fund to defray the cost of medical treatment that denizens of these restaurants will no doubt require in their later years.
I don't want to subsidize millions of obese diabetics with heart disease while I spend my lifetime eating right and exercising.