Many foods are backed by special interests whether they be trade-driven, politically-motivated or simply a means of popularizing the grub du jour for the latest fad diet. Consider vegan pizza, which is being honored with its own, “official” Vegan Pizza Day, this Saturday, January 29. The mandate of its organizers? To drive awareness of vegan pizza, naturally. And sell a few slices too.
Though the special day boasts a couple of sponsors (including Teese, a vegan cheese alternative and QuarryGirl.com, a vegan blogger with a Paul McCartney fetish) the real bucks behind Vegan Pizza Day seem to come from Zpizza, the brainchild of Sid Fanarof, an entrepreneur hailing from the Orange County enclave of Laguna Beach.
Zpizza has over 90 locations, and another 400 in ongoing development worldwide. More to the point, it offers vegan pizzas as well as more traditional fare on its menu. Though the chain emphasizes its appeal to “health conscious consumers and gourmet palates alike,” its “Berkeley Vegan” pizza boasts the most sodium of all its pizzas at 580 milligrams, or about 24% of one’s recommended daily allowance, per slice.
The culprit could be the vegan cheese alternative, which, like many processed foods, can be overly salt-intensive in an effort to help preserve the product as well as add flavor lost in its manufacture. For those with a yen to celebrate Vegan Pizza Day without the risk of hypertension, consider perhaps making a pizza at home and going light on the cheese alternative. Recipes, anyone?