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Rosati’s Pizza Tests New Vegan Cheese On Its Chicagoland Menu

With nearly 300 Rosati’s locations nationwide, vegan cheese would be a major rollout for this historic pizza brand.

Posted on June 20, 2022

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To meet growing consumer interest and demand for plant-based food options, Rosati’s Pizza announced that it’s bringing Vitalite, a vegan-certified, dairy-free cheese alternative from Saputo Dairy USA (SDUSA), to the menu at its Buffalo Grove, Illinois, location, starting in June 2022. Vitalite Shredded Mozzarella Style cheese will be available as an ingredient on all 12” and 14” pizzas.

“For nearly a century, Rosati’s has lived by the words of founder Saverio ‘Sam’ Rosati, ‘Give the people what they want’ and has prided itself on creating authentic, Chicago-style pizza that uses only the best ingredients,” the company announced. Apparently, what they want is vegan cheese.

“We are excited to expand our Buffalo Grove menu with a limited trial run of Vitalite plant-based cheese,” adds Jeff Rosati, chief financial officer at Rosati’s Pizza. “Customers with dietary restrictions can now enjoy the quality pizza Rosati’s is known for by substituting our classic whole-milk mozzarella with Vitalite.” The historic pizzeria, which has grown to almost 300 locations nationwide, noted that the popularity of plant-based cheese has been continuing to grow among flexitarian consumers—those who include plant-based foods and beverages while also allowing some animal products.

Meanwhile, SDUSA, with its cheese division based in Lincolnshire, Illinois, is part of Saputo Inc., one of the top 10 dairy processors in the world, and produces, markets and distributes a vast assortment of cheeses. SDUSA is among the top mozzarella, string cheese, and domestic blue and goat cheese producers and is one of the largest producers of extended shelf-life and cultured dairy products in the Midwest region. They, too, have seen the benefits of going plant-based.

“According to global market research firm Mintel, nearly half of all U.S. consumers say they follow a flexitarian approach to eating, so having quality plant-based options on the menu is a must,” says David Cherrie, SDUSA vice president, marketing and innovation. “In what is predicted to be the biggest year yet for plant-based foods, Rosati’s is getting ahead of the game and offering Chicagoland pizza lovers a delicious plant-based pizza alternative that fits in with today’s consumer lifestyle needs.”

Interestingly, a social listening study conducted by Saputo showed that consumers feel current vegan cheese offerings do not deliver on key attributes such as taste, texture and performance. Saputo saw an opportunity to create a better vegan cheese with its introduction of the Vitalite brand of products for both restaurant and at-home use.

Meanwhile, Rosati’s Pizza, established in Chicago by the Rosati brothers in 1964, serves up Chicago pizza and Italian classics made from the freshest local ingredients, following original family recipes. Rosati’s Pizza is known for its four styles of Chicago Pizza: Traditional Thin Crust, Unique Double Dough, World Famous Chicago Deep Dish and Authentic Stuffed. Rosati’s delivers hefty portions of Italian favorites to neighborhoods across the country—including, perhaps not too far in the future, plant-based menu items at all of its locations after this trial run.

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