Perhaps the single biggest if not most frustrating void for folks stuck on gluten-free diets is about to be finally filled: home-delivered pizza.
Monday, Domino's, the world's largest delivery pizza chain, will announce plans to sell a pizza made with a gluten-free crust.
It comes as some of the biggest foodmakers and food sellers — including Frito-Lay, Subway, Anheuser-Busch and P.F. Chang's — are jumping into the $6.2 billion market for people unable to consume products made with wheat, barley and rye.
"We are the first national pizza delivery chain to offer this," boasts Domino's CMO Russell Weiner, who notes that while the crust is certified gluten-free, the pizza is still prepared in ovens with pizzas that aren't gluten-free, so folks who are extra-sensitive need to be aware. The gluten-free pizza costs about $3 more. Most gluten-free products typically do cost more to make.
Until recently, gluten-free was mostly listed on the back of the package, but now, with 6% to 8% of the U.S.population on some some kind of gluten-free diet, it's increasingly listed on the front, and even called out in bold type. "It's become a selling point," says Alice Bast, president at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, a group that raises awareness of Celiac disease and gluten intolerance.
Bast says, "The number one request we get from the gluten-free consumer is for gluten-free pizza — and beer."
Also going gluten-free:
•Casual dining. P.F. Chang's, an industry stand-out with 25 gluten-free dishes, just added seven more to its menu, including Gluten-Free Caramel Mango Chicken and Gluten-Free Asian Tomato Cucumber Salad. It also uses gluten-free soy sauce. The key is making these dishes taste as good as conventional dishes, says Dan Drummond, brand director.
•Chips. At Frito-Lay, the most common request on its consumer affairs line is for gluten-free offerings, spokeswoman Aurora Gonzalez says. Frito-Lay has recently begun labeling packaging on more than a dozen chips that are gluten-free with a special "GF" (gluten-free) icon or statement on the back of the bag.
•Subs. Subway has been testing gluten-free products, including bread and brownies, at some stores in four key markets since early 2011, says Tony Pace, chief marketing officer for the Subway brand. Those markets: Dallas/Fort Worth; Portland, Ore.; Tacoma, Wash.; and Duluth, Minn.
•Beer. Also Monday, Anheusher-Busch will roll out Michelob Ultra Light Cider, which is gluten-free. In 2006, it launched Redbridge, the first nationally available gluten-free beer