There are at least 25 different ways to make Totino's Pizza Rolls

The New York Times reports that, due to the ongoing and seemingly endless threat of "supply chain issues," the makers of Totino's pizza rolls, those delicious bite-sized freezer snacks, have to had to pivot their recipes. Specifically, they found 25 different recipes to lead to essentially the same result, in case any of the 21 ingredients that comprise the pizza rolls are unexpectedly unavailable:

"First it was the starch that we use for the cheeses," Mr. Nudi said. "Then certain packaging and oils were hard to find. A lot of the materials that we use for Totino's were challenged from an ingredient standpoint."

By February, there weren't enough Totino's pizza and pizza rolls to keep grocery freezer sections full.

By then, the company had started daily meetings across its research and development, procurement and supply chain departments to figure out how to revamp and substitute ingredients. For instance when starch became difficult to find, the company began substituting and combining different starches in order to figure out what worked to make the pizza rolls look and taste the same.


Now General Mills is lining up multiple suppliers for each ingredient and keeping more ingredients on hand.

It's both fascinating, and slightly horrifying, to think about how those 21 ingredients can re-conceived or replaced in 25 different ways, and still produce essentially the same result.

The article notes that this sort of situation is permitted through a temporary guidance from the FDA that allows manufacturers to make "minor formulation changes" because of shortages, as long as those changes don't change the allergen risks or key ingredients as featured in the product marketing.

Why Totino's Needs 25 Ways to Make Pizza Rolls [Julie Creswell / The New York Times]

Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Full Disclosure: I also write for Wirecutter, which is part of the New York Times Company, which publishes The New York Times