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
Mary Carey says
I find this move to capitalize on the gluten free market insulting and a complete sham. People with Celiac Disease & gluten sensitivity rely on a products to be free of cross contamination. Nothing like deceiving the general public. I will make sure I tell all my family and friends to boycott Domino's in support of all of those with Celiac, which includes myself.
Very disappointed consumer.
There is no way that Domino's nor we as consumers could afford to dedicate an oven only for gluten free pizzas! It sucks to be gluten sensitive or have Celiac, but we can't expect companies to take a loss on our account. There are many people who are gluten free by choice rather than as a health necessity and that's who they are marketing to.
This is really, really crazy. Sorry to hear you're all going through this at the moment. Here in Australia, Domino's Pizza offered a gluten free base some years back but added a disclaimer saying that traces of gluten may be present. The Coeliac Society of Australia (now known as Coeliac Australia) said that "every time you drive a car, you risk dying. When we eat out with coeliac disease, we need to make informed decisions about what we eat, reduce the risk and most importantly enjoy the gluten free diet".
There seemed to be a good affiliation between them and Domino's at the time in 2009.
I am taking a wide variety of businesses in Australia to task who falsely and ILLEGALLY advertise gluten free food for the population! I posted on the issue of Domino's in Australia for anyone who's interested:
My son has mild sensitivity to gluten which primarily affects behavior. I personally am THRILLED to see a GF crust available from Dominos. This could dramatically impact his/our life. I wish it were cost effective for every restaurant to designate GF prep areas but as it isn't I am very thankful that those who merely choose to live GF not by medical necessity are being presented GF options. Boycotting Dominos seems spiteful. As long as they appropriately label their product I don't see them as the enemy. They are providing a product...it just isn't for everyone.
While I have an extreme sensitivity to gluten, enough that I avoid certain cheeses, I am thrilled that Dominos is offering a gf option. I won't be able to eat it due to my own personal level of sensitivity, but I have friends who won't be bothered by the cross contamination because they have a much more mild form of gluten sensitivity. Hopefully they will take a note or two from Subway and start eliminating the cross contamination, but until then, cheers for even offering something!!! I could not fathom why anyone would boycott them for offering a gf option, so long as there was a disclaimer about cross contamination.
Molly Brack says
Good for Dominoes! At least they are trying to provide us with whatever options they can realistically manage. Obviously people with extreme sensitivity will have the choice of passing on this pizza due to the contamination risk. I've had restaurants ask me to leave the premises when I said I needed gluten-free food, so I appreciate it when a company does what they can to help even though it may not be perfect.