Confession time: I haven’t been in Whole Foods since their CEO came out against universal health care, so it’s been a while and I’ve missed a few things. Like the extended array of Chicago Diner desserts in the cake case last week (mislabeled but at least there was more than one choice). And tonight, I noticed that they’re carrying Tofurky® Vegan Frozen Pizzas, all three combo options:
But, are Tofurky pizzas enough to bring me back to Whole Foods on a regular basis despite the CEO obvious disconnect with his target market? Let’s find out.
Good combination offerings.
Toppings—Yes, I am happy with the basic three offerings. But because I’m a skeptic, I only wanted to risk $9 on one, I opted for the Italian sausage and fire-roasted veggie pizza. I was thrilled to see that the toppings indeed go all the way to the edge of the pizza. None of this skimpy, wimpy topping crap from regular mainstream pizzas. BTW, has anyone else noticed how Amy’s cheeseless pizza with onion marmalade has gotten skimpier and sloppier? Not to mention Trader Joe’s poor excuse for a copycat pizza. But there I go, digressing again….
True to the package description, there were little grill marks on the tiny diced veggies making me think that these were indeed fire-roasted. I don’t know how they managed that without a tiny Barbi grill but they did. And the Tofurky brand Italian sausage chunks did not disappoint. Score 1 point for good quality toppings and 1 for an edge-to-edge covering of toppings.
Tomato sauce—You know how many store-bought tomato sauces have added sugar? Yeah? I hate that too, seems weird to me to add sugar to tomatoes unless you’re making tomato jam but I digress. The sauce they use ain’t bad. Not sweet and contains a bit of garlic. Score 1 point for no sugar and 1 point for spices and garlic.
Now here’s where it gets really good:
Cheese—As all vegans know, a good vegan cheese is the Holy Grail of vegan foods. Within the past couple years we’ve had two major contenders for best vegan cheese. Each have their own merits and fan base (Chicago Soydairy Teese® cheese and Daiya® dairy-free cheese) and each would have worked as a partner on Tofurky’s pizzas, at least from a consumer perspective. Tofurky decided to partner with Daiya for their pizza toppings and it does a very fine job. But it seems the trick to getting any vegan cheese to melt is high heat. And it doesn’t hurt to put the cheese directly on top of the sauce which contains a bit of oil. Tofurky indeed places the cheese UNDER the veggie and sausage toppings so you don’t really see it like you would a normal frozen pizza. Even so, I personally like a little more cheese than the pizza came with so I added some of my own stash of Daiya.
Overall, kudos for including Daiya, wish Tofurky had put a tad more on so I didn’t have to. Score 1 point for inclusion, no points for quantity.
Flavor and texture.
Overall, good job on the flavor combo of the one pizza I tried. And the thin whole-wheat crust was crispy since I baked is directly on the oven rack rather than a cookie sheet. The pizza was sufficiently gooey so all it well with the world. Score 1 point.
Portions and price.
Each box lists the pizza as having 3 servings, 1/3 pizza each. As you can tell from this photo, the pizza really isn’t all that big so this is NOT your average oversized za from a parlor. You’re not going to feed your family with this pizza but it’s perfect for 2 people really but a stretch for 3. Score no points for smallish size.
Price was $8.99 each at Whole Foods. Can’t really compare to other retailers since no one else here seems to carry them. Higher in price than some but less than others. Seems to be about the range of a frozen pizza from Whole Foods. Is it worth it? For me personally? Occasionally as I’m not one to buy a lot of frozen pizzas because it is more expensive than make your own. But this little pizza does satisfy the craving, especially when you don’t have time to chop all your own toppings and create your own. Score no points for price—not a deal but average by comparison.
Overall, scoring 6 points out of a possible 9.
But back to my original question: Is it enough to draw me back to Whole Foods despite the CEO? If no one else carries Tofurky brand pizzas, then I will have to buy them here.
I wonder if that CEO is still in charge or if the board locked him in the supply closet? Anybody know?
November 1, 2010 at 12:58 pm
I have to agree: the Whole Foods CEO has also ticked me off. Universal healthcare was great for me in both the UK and Canada – imagine never having to worry if you’re covered, no paperwork, and no out of pocket costs. People pay more attention to their health as a result, so over time healthcare costs goes down, not up. Brilliant!
As for the Tofurky vegan pizzas, we would also score them in the “OK” category. We weren’t fans of meaty ones back in the old days so prefer the plain one or the veggie one to the “sausage” version. We add other toppings to those two, like spices, chopped tomato, fresh basil leaf after baking, etc.
Excellent point about baking directly on the oven rack; these are much better a bit crispy.
The price may seem like a bit much, but remember that we’re a niche market. The fewer they make, the higher the cost. I whip out my non-leather wallet to buy this non-dairy pizza and and think of the cows :-) Kudos to Tofurky for putting together three options and getting national distribution so we can all try these.
A better option than Whole Foods: I saw Tofurky frozen pizzas in Portland’s Food Fight grocery! You can see the grocery’s online selection here: http://www.foodfightgrocery.com/ It doesn’t look like they ship perishable items, so take a trip to Portland and enjoy vegan nirvana. Pick up a pizza while you’re there.
November 1, 2010 at 2:45 pm
Extra Daiya, nice addition!
$9 may seem steep but I ordered a $18 tiny GF vegan pizza. At least it came to my door.
November 1, 2010 at 3:08 pm
I first discovered these at Whole Foods as well. I also found them at a local health food market (Clover’s in Columbia, MO) for $8.09.
November 1, 2010 at 7:09 pm
what an excellent and super-thorough review! I still haven’t tried those tofurky pizzas, but one day soon I”ll get around to it. I totally agree with you about Amy’s cheeseless pizza getting skimpier and skimpier. It’s a bummer.
November 1, 2010 at 7:36 pm
After thinking about this overnight, I really do think the extra Daiya made these better but I also think they put the Daiya UNDER the other toppings for a reason and I suspect that is because it melts better when directly against the sauce.
I remember the first time I ever had Amy’s cheeseless pizza and how absolutely thrilled I was with the onion marmalade instead of tomato sauce. I don’t even bother buying it anymore because it’s changes so much in the past 5 years.
I am hoping that other grocers start carrying these pizzas so I don’t have to go to Whole Foods. Maybe The Fruitful Yield will carry them soon?
You’re right, we are a niche market and it’s easy to forget that when you see $5 pizzas the size of a Toyota Yaris in a general grocery. I still think these are a nice fast treat when I don’t want to cook anything, so long as I add extra Daiya.
Thanks for the comments folks!
November 2, 2010 at 2:19 pm
I think the price is a bit much, but for me (being in the middle of nowhere) it’s not a bad deal. I can keep them in the freezer and pop one out and have something to eat in a matter of minutes. I thought it was pretty tasty too, but I only tried the pepperoni. I’ll have to try the others.
Also I didn’t know that about the CEO of WF. Interesting tidbit. Unfortunately that’s the ONLY place I can shop around here. There’s Walmart which I HATE and a few markets which carry a few items here and there, but usually WAY overpriced. I should totally move up north lol.
November 2, 2010 at 10:29 pm
Yeah, I was pretty distraught about the CEO of WF (interesting acronym) so this pizza poses a dilemma for me. Luckily we have a Trader Joe’s and Fruitful Yield nearby but I am stuck with WF for Tofurky pizzas. I hate Walmart too, refuse to even set food in there. Evil evil vibes.
If I had to live in a more remote area, I’d def invest in a bigass freezer, grow a HUGE garden and order in bulk from Vegan Essentials or Cosmo’s. I have to order some things from them anyway.
November 7, 2010 at 6:59 pm
You forgot points for nostalgia! No, it’s not great, but it definitely takes me back to my childhood.
I’ve eaten so many of these pizzas. Fortunately, I live in Portland (grew up in Chicago), so I was able to pick these up at Food Fight back when they were $6, but I’ve shelled out $8 for them a couple of times. I don’t know where they got the “three servings” idea–I’ve eaten one on my own (I’d skipped lunch and honestly just wanted to see if I could do it).
And Amy’s/TJ’s onion-based cheeseless just piss me off. I figured out a recipe for the onion base and make my own version. So worth the effort.
November 7, 2010 at 10:16 pm
I’ve been wanting to figure out the onion topping for the Amy’s pizzas for a while but just haven’t gotten around to it. You should totally post that for veganmofo!
I hear Portland is the Vegan Utopia. That true?
November 8, 2010 at 9:37 am
I actually covered it a long time ago:
And yes, Portland is the vegan mecca. It’s ridiculous–vegan tattoo shops, bakeries, belt store, tons of food carts and restaurants. And of course we’re holding the first vegan blogger conference here!
November 8, 2010 at 12:29 pm
Thanks for the link!! Folks, this is the link to make an onion sauce like on the Amy’s no cheese pizzas!
February 22, 2016 at 8:09 pm
Daiya cheese is gross. Id way rather have the Trader Joes vegan pizza. You can make “cheese sauce” or sprinkle like a parmesien using nutritional yeast.
February 22, 2016 at 10:32 pm
Perhaps you didn’t notice that this post was originally written back in 2010. Six years ago, the options were different than they are today. Teese® isn’t even available anymore and SIX years ago, the Trader Joe’s pizza flat out sucked. Daiya® has since changed their formula and even come out with their own pizzas. And Trader Joe’s now has a really good IMHO vegan mozzarella cheese. Of course, it’s a private label cheese from one of the other established brands but TJ’s isn’t sharing the source.