In these abysmal and uncertain times of economic calamity, who doesn’t like to save a buck or two on their grocery shopping? That’s why I was really excited to find that Whole Foods is now making a knock-off version of one of the best vegan frozen entrees that is available, Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Pizza. Amy’s pizza is known and loved by many as a truly delicious frozen pizza that’s 100% vegan and available in many super markets, including Whole Foods. Whole Foods has also started carrying their own version of the same thing under their home label, 365 Everyday Value. I assumed this would be the same as Amy’s pizza just boxed as the Whole Foods brand, much like they do at Trader Joe’s.

The great thing about this Whole Foods version is that it’s nearly half the price… Amy’s goes for $8.99 while the Whole Foods pizza is only $4.99. Too bad the low price is the only great thing about it. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

First lets talk a bit about Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Pizza (No Cheese). This is one delicious pizza as far as things that come out of box and into your oven are concerned. I loved this long before I went vegan and I still do today. Amy’s pizza is the one item in the freezer aisle I always have a tough time resisting.

As described, it involves: “No cheese. Topped with marinated organic shiitake mushrooms, roasted red peppers, sweet onions and marinated artichoke hearts. Non-dairy/no cholesterol.”

Amy's Roasted Vegetable Pizza No Cheese

The sauce is onion based, not tomato. The weird thing is that I am an avid & avowed onion hater, though it’s mostly in their raw form that I despise them. Cooked into food I don’t mind them, and in certain preparations I actually like them. Sweet onion pizza sauce is one of those ways. One of my all time favorite foods on the entire planet is the green onion based Indian pizza at Zante’s in San Francisco. Should I ever have to choose my last meal, Zante’s vegan pizza with everything would be it. Amy’s pizza tastes nothing like Zante’s of course (nothing can ever come close), but it does share that unique sweet onion sauce approach to pizza. If something can make me actually enjoy an onion, you know it’s got to be good.

Amy's Roasted Vegetable Pizza No Cheese

The crust on Amy’s pizza is excellent for something out of a freezer. It gets nicely crisp on the outside and stays just the right amount of soft & chewy on the inside. There’s always a generous amount of the special sauce and an equally generous and well distributed placement of toppings. The toppings are chopped into small bite sized pieces and both look and taste perfectly fresh and delicious. Amy’s uses 85% organic ingredients in this pizza, is all natural and is 100% vegan. All in all, good stuff that you don’t have to be vegan to appreciate.

Now for the Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Roasted Vegetable No Cheese Pizza, aka, the knock off.

As they describe it: “Pizza without cheese may sound crazy, but it sure is delicious. We start with a perfectly formed crust, sweet onion sauce and layer roasted artichokes, Shiitake mushrooms, bell peppers and tomatoes to create a cheeseless paradise. So pop one in the oven, toss together a fresh salad and forget about the dairy… you’ll never miss it!”

Yum, sure sounds good, right? Even with that whole whole wacky no cheese thing! Wrong. If there was ever proof of “you get what you pay for”, this would be it- a total failure at imitating Amy’s pizza:

Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Roasted Vegetable No Cheese Pizza

It looks downright nasty. Granted these are not the best photos nor did I take them in the best lighting. But seriously, you don’t need better light to see how bad this looks… bright light would have just made it look worse, this thing is better off left in the dark. There’s hardly any sauce, and what there is of it is just sort of lumped about in little puddles. The toppings are sparse and with one whole section of the pizza not even hardly getting any. It’s one of the saddest pizzas I’ve ever seen. My picture sure doesn’t look anything like the one on the box now does it?

Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Roasted Vegetable No Cheese Pizza

Totally unappetizing. It didn’t even smell good while it was heating in the oven… one of the best things about a good pizza being how awesome it smells while it’s cooking. The crust was hard all the way through even though I heated it according to the instructions. It’s appearance was kind of sickly pale and the texture on the top felt moist and spongy. What little sauce that was there was thin and runny, adding to the already wet sensation this thing had going for it. Of the barely there toppings, they were cut into awkward, too big chunks, the size of which only emphasized how much they tasted like cheap, soggy freezer food. The mushrooms were gross, I picked those off after my first bite, but ultimately I didn’t make it much farther into this disgusting pizza- I couldn’t even finish one whole slice.

Hands down, this wannabe is an abomination and should be taken off the market immediately. Whole Foods, you totally dropped the ball on this one, big time. Take it away and come back when you get it right.

Not only is this thing unpalatable, it’s not even vegan. The crust of the Whole Foods pizza contains honey, while my beloved Amy’s pizza uses agave as a sweetener. Now let’s not get into the whole debate about honey, it’s not vegan, deal with it. Beyond that though, there is something far weirder going on here. One of the listed ingredients on the Whole Foods pizza is “2% or less of sponge extract”. Say what now? Yes, you heard me right the first time, sponge extract. I don’t know what the hell sponge is doing in there as a food ingredient, and frankly my dears, I don’t give a damn. It’s not like I will ever in my life be eating this horrid thing ever again.

If I sound pissed off you’re darn tootin’ right I am! There’s nothing quite as rotten feeling as realizing you’ve been taken for a ride while believing you were getting a good deal, especially if you’re really hungry and have nothing else at home to eat other than this turd pretending to be something it’s not. I feel like I’ve been swindled by the used car salesman of frozen pizzas. Saving $4 isn’t at all a value when what you get for the bargain is something so bad that you can’t even bring yourself to eat it. Seriously Whole Foods, what the fuck? This nonsense is giving cheeseless pizza a bad name. I want my $4.99 back so that I can apply it towards wiping away this foul memory with a delicious Amy’s pizza. It might be double the price but there’s no question which one is the tastier and better value. Don’t be fooled by cheap imitations!

Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Pizza, No Cheese
Doesn’t have it’s own page, scroll about half way down.

Whole Foods Roasted Vegetable No Cheese Pizza
Just read the comments on that page, I’m not the only hater.

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33 Responses to “You really do get what you pay for.”
  1. H.C. says:

    wow, totally deceptive of WF to include not only honey, but an actual animal! – definitely reminds me to check the ingredient list.

    And off-topic, Amy’s Mac’ n Soy Cheeze totally fooled me for the real deal :D

  2. FoodEater says:

    H.C.: Amy’s Mac & Soy Cheese isn’t vegan so I haven’t had the pleasure :(

    Hopefully one of these days all these almost vegan products will go all the way.

  3. SCVegan says:

    Thanks for reviewing that, I was wondering how it compared. The honey directed me away from it when I first spotted this in my Valencia Whole Foods. Trader Joe’s also sells an imitation for around the same price as the Whole Foods one, but I couldn’t tell the difference between TJ’s and Amy’s. I would need to taste them side by side, but the TJ’s version may just be a re-boxed Amy’s pizza.

  4. quarrygirl says:

    you know me dude, those BOTH look gross considering they have bell peppers on them! ha! i will stick with toffuitti vegan pizzas, which are AMAZING. ;) awesome review though!!!

  5. dd03 says:

    I’m not a vegan, but I do eat some vegan processed foods because I have a milk allergy. I’m not a fan of the sweet onion sauce so I had a harder time with Amy’s pizza. But if I’m really craving a pizza, it’s the one I buy.

  6. hey!

    wow, what a bummer.

    Now the good news…i barely had Amy’s for the first time like a week ago and was equally dumbfounded by how perfect it was!

    And you know from where?

    Fresh & Easy! for like $5 or somewhere around that!

    Fresh & Easy man, Fresh & Easy…

  7. Brettney says:

    The Trader Joes “knock off” Is actually the Amy’s brand as I have had both, however I will be staying clear of the WF’s actual knock off it really looks horrid.

  8. Lex says:

    great post! I was laughing when I saw the WF version, lol. I’ve ate so many of those Amy’s cheeseless pizza 6 or 7 years ago I burned myself out for life!

  9. lea says:

    I loved the one I got from TJ’s so much that when I saw the 365 one I bought it. It’s in my freezer – but now I’m afraid to even bake it!

  10. Kevin says:

    teenage glutster beat me to it, but the Amy’s pizzas are $5.99 at Fresh and Easy. We usually get one a week. That with a little FYH Thousand Island dressing as a dipping sauce and you’re in business.

  11. Grubtrotters says:

    I am totally addicted to Amy’s pizzas. I will stay away from the Whole Foods knockoffs. (Trader Joe’s knockoffs aren’t so bad, though. Not sure if they have a vegan version.)

  12. Vegyogini says:

    Thanks for taking one for the team, Mademoiselle Foodeater! I’ll certainly stay away from that monstrosity.

  13. I LOVE THE AMY”S brand, expensive, but well worth the money.
    You are right, you get what you pay for.

  14. Michelle says:

    Thanks for the headsup! I’ve seen the Amy’s pizzas but never dived in for one. I’m definately getting one of these for dinner tonight.

  15. Tracy says:

    Gross! Sponge extract? What the heck? It does look nasty. Trader Joe’s does do a great knock off of this, my all time favorite, Amy’s pizza. I have to say I’ve never had an Amy’s meal I wasn’t happy with.

  16. kala says:

    Thanks for the review, that looks so gross!

  17. xscottx says:

    so dead on. I love the Amy’s and TJ’s versions but the WF is just nasty nasty nasty

  18. tiny says:

    teenage glutster and kevin are right about fresh and easy. i was just there today and they are $5.94.

  19. daniel says:

    thanks for the review. You should go straight to whole foods with a copy of your post and get your money back. They will give it to you without a hassle, and then you can go get a F&E or TJs pizza

  20. chow vegan says:

    Thanks for the review! I’ll be sure to stay far, far, away from that WF frozen pizza! It does not look good at all!

  21. Afsoon says:

    Thanks for that post. I’ll for sure not pick that up.

  22. BOO! Normally it seems like Whole Foods does a good job with everything. Laaaame. They need to get their act together and put some more toppings on that pizza, gosh darn it!

  23. Jesse says:

    Someone said this already, but I have to second it:

    Fresh & Easy. It’s $5.76 for the Amy’s Vegetable Pizza at the Hollywood F&E. F&E also has ridiculously low prices on grains in general, and 2.99 for a Half Gallon of Soy Delicious.

    TJ’s beats them on most other things, but they’ve got a lot of good buys.

  24. Savory Tv says:

    Sad, very sad! Thank you for your great review and photos, I only wish Amy’s were more affordable in general.

  25. Val says:

    …….. Sponge extract?!?!?!? Wtf.

  26. FoodEater says:

    Thanks for the feedback everyone! The consensus seems to be that most of you agree that the Whole Foods knock-off version SUCKS, and that Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Cheeseless Pizza is the clear winner.

    We’ve also learned that:

    1. The cheaper version sold at Trader Joe’s is (or is identical to) Amy’s.

    2. Fresh & Easy sells Amy’s pizza for about a million dollars less than Whole Foods.

    Great info, and I really appreciate the money saving tips!

  27. FoodEater says:

    p.s… I still have no clue what sponge extract is doing in a pizza.

  28. Janet says:

    LOL @ sponge extract! Thanx for the review. Amy pizza rocks on those nights when you don’t feel like cooking dinner. I would have had higher hopes for WF though…that’s too bad. Maybe they should re-think the choice of ingredients??

  29. Jorge says:

    The Trader Joe’s box even has the exact same photo as Amy’s, although cropped a little differently. The nutrition info is exactly the same, except for one extra unsaturated gram of fat in the Amy’s box and a corresponding 10 calorie disparity. From what I could tell, the ingredients were the same (differently ordered) except that one listed filtered water and the other did not.

  30. Dianne says:

    OMG, I have been talking about this Pizza all day, my husband and I purchased Amy’s Roasted Veggie cheeseless and I fell in love! OMG, it is awesome and you know what for 8.99 it is not tragic, you figure a regular Pizza is what 12.00 yes bigger but definatly as healthy and a nice organic salad on the side, 2 people will eat quite well!
    Love the review on the WF version, I rather pay a bit more for better taste!

  31. FoodEater says:

    Dianne: I agree, for the size and how delicious it is, I don’t think the price is too high. It’s a delicious dinner I turn to often… too often as a matter of fact! ;)

  32. Balius says:

    I posted a “sponge extract question” or two on the Whole Foods Site too – no answer as to what it really is – ground up “ocean stuff” ? lol

    B

  33. Will says:

    I think that the Amy’s pizza is most excellent. I used to buy them when they first came out and they were only about $5 at the time. Over the years, the price has gone up. Wah.

    The sweet onions are so very tasty. I would eat an entire pizza in one sitting. Yum!

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