Toppers Pizza first chain in Canada to offer lactose-free option

Published July 27, 2022 7:24 p.m. ET

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Toppers Pizza is Canada's first pizza chain to offer lactose-free cheese on its pies at all 37 of its locations.

A spokesperson for the chain said it wanted to reach a market for whom pizza wasn't an option before now: people who are lactose intolerant.

"The company's mission is to bring family and friends together through the love-generating power of a great pizza experience," said regional marketing manager Rob Mininni.

"Our customers have been telling us for a long time that they want a lactose-free option, so we're happy to be first to market in Canada and for at least the summer months."

Mininni said there are hoping to reach some of the seven million people in Canada who have a sensitivity to lactose.

"There's a big market for this (among) those who can't enjoy pizza the way they were supposed to," he said.

"We actually did taste-testing in advance of the launch. There was a bunch of us who got together in the room. We were presented two options -- the two pizzas -- and we tried them and everyone was guessing. No one could truly tell."

The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation welcomed the move, telling CTV News this is going to make life easier for many people.

"It's amazing!" said Kelsey Cheyne, executive director.

"There are roughly 44 per cent of Canadians who are lactose intolerant. Normally when someone consumes lactose, an enzyme called lactase helps break it down. But if you're intolerant, your body doesn't make enough of that enzyme. As a result, people will feel those digestive issues such as gas, bloating and stomach pain."

Cheyne said it is becoming more common as more Canadians get older.

"By adulthood, up to 70 per cent of people don't produce enough lactase to digest milk so it leads to those uncomfortable symptoms when they consume dairy," she said.

Toppers Pizza is making their lactose-free pizza available at least until the end of the summer. 

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