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Pizza Hut is selling its spiciest pizza ever

<i>Pizza Hut</i><br/>Pizza Hut's Spicy Lover's PPizza Hut is rolling out the
Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut's Spicy Lover's PPizza Hut is rolling out the "Spicy Lover's Pizza" for a limited time.

By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

Pizza Hut is hopping on the spicy food trend.

Beginning Thursday, it’s rolling out the “Spicy Lover’s Pizza” for a limited time. The pie features spicy marinara sauce, two types of pepperoni (classic and crispy cupped), red jalapeño peppers and a sprinkled topping custom made with herbs and crushed chili peppers.

Three versions are available: double pepperoni, chicken and pineapple, and a veggie version topped with green bell peppers, onions and mushrooms. Prices start at $12.99 for a large.

People are increasingly craving spicy food, Pizza Hut says. A third-party report from Technomic, a research firm that specializes in the food service industry, found that nearly 80% of fast food customers say they enjoy “moderately spicy foods,” and that spicy flavors attract younger and more diverse customers. That is likely to bring them and “their pizza-loving friends and family into the world of Pizza Hut,” potentially expanding its customer base, according to the report.

Other chains recently have added spicy food to their menu. That includes Arby’s, which claims to be selling the “spiciest sandwich on the market” with five sources of spice. And this week, Shake Shack rolled out a buffalo chicken sandwich and buffalo-spiced fries. Plus there are numerous spicy fried chicken sandwiches available at Wendy’s, Popeye’s, McDonald’s and Burger King.

Pizza is a competitive space, with customers often shifting their preferences depending on deals and new menu items. Pizza Hut sales at US restaurants rose just 2% in its most recent quarter compared to a year earlier. Its parent company, Yum Brands, will release its next earnings report on February 9.

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