MPI says Hell not 'completely open' about secret fake meat pizza

Hell Pizza says it's been "completely open" with the Ministry of Primary Industries about its controversial meat-free pizza - but MPI disagrees.

The fast food joint angered many last week with a stunt designed to raise awareness of the meat industry's impact on the climate. 

It released a new creation, the 'Burger Pizza', but did not disclose that the "patty meat" topping was actually plant-based.

When Hell revealed the seemingly meaty treat was in fact entirely vegan, many Kiwis were angry about being duped.

"I get to decide what I want to eat," one man said, while others accused the company of forcing a meat-free lifestyle on unsuspecting customers.

But others had more serious concerns: allergies.

One customer wrote it "was wrong on so many levels" as they can't eat soy and were anxious about being tricked into eating it. The Burger Pizza does not contain soy. 

Another wrote that the pizza "was tasty but [not going to lie], my dumb non-allergen reading ass could have straight up died if this was something like quorn".

"Deceitful behaviour with good intentions is still deceitful. You may have not broken the law [but] you have shown that you are not a company to be trusted," another wrote.

On Monday MPI stepped in, announcing it would meet with Hell management to discuss its obligations under the Food Act. 

In a statement, Hell says the meeting was "very positive" and the Ministry was satisfied with its response to customer concerns. 

"Since their first point of contact, we have been proactively working with MPI. We have been completely open, which has been recognised by MPI. HELL acknowledges and has taken on board MPI’s feedback and will incorporate it into any future campaigns."

While MPI agrees the meeting was positive, it disputes the pizza company's claims of full transparency. 

"Whilst the discussions have been helpful, we would not characterise them as "completely open" as stated by Hell," director of compliance Gary Orr told Newshub. 

The Ministry's investigation is ongoing. 

Hell has stressed it takes allergies "very seriously", and says all 75 stores had a full list of the Burger Pizza's ingredients which it would provide to customers on request. 

While there are no immediate plans to bring the Burger Pizza back, if customer demand is high enough it could return to Hell's regular menu.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: