NZ pizza chain accused of 'deceit' for covertly serving fake meat

The 'Burger Pizza' contained no meat but plant-based substitutes (Photo: Hell Pizza)
The 'Burger Pizza' contained no meat but plant-based substitutes (Photo: Hell Pizza)

A New Zealand restaurant chain has been accused of 'deceit' after it covertly served vegan 'meat' on its Burger Pizza.

Hell Pizza launched its limited edition pizza on 21 June, advertising it as featuring a 'medium-rare burger patty' as a topping.

More than 3,000 customers ordered it, but some are now criticising the chain for misleading customers.

It turns out the pizza did not serve meat at all but plant-based substitutes created by US company Beyond Meat.

The chain revealed the surprise on Friday last week (27 June) to a mix of criticism and praise from customers who tried it.

One person said on Hell Pizza's Facebook page that the advertisement was 'straight out pure deceit'.

“There are people who have reactions to certain vegetable-based products,” he said.

Another user added: “Not impressed. Having a son with six allergies and intolerances I would be furious if someone decided to fool me on what I ate.”

But the company defended the pizza, saying in a statement it wanted to 'start a conversation' of 'alternative food options'.

“With more pressure on the planet’s resources, we need to think about alternative food options,” the statement said.

“If covertly adding meat-free options onto a pizza encourages more people to be open-minded, we’re happy to do that.”

It comes as the European Union considers a ban on the use of words such as “burger”, “hamburger”, “steak” or “sausage” on vegan food packaging.

The European Union's agriculture committee approved the latest round of food labelling regulations in June.

A UK parliamentary committee also looked at proposals to restrict the use of words like 'sausage' and 'burger' in non-meat products last month.