Domino’s is having a field day in schools. The company is now delivering a pizza it calls the smart slice to lunchrooms in 38 states, totalling more than 3000 schools. Driving these fast food sales are new government rules aimed at getting school children to eat healthier.
51% of the smart slice crust is made with a whole wheat flour.
What’s in these pies? For starters, the rules require that half of all grains served in schools be whole, not refined. So 51% of the smart slice crust is made with a whole wheat flour that is made to look and taste like white.
Domino’s also points out that its school pies have less of the worrisome ingredients than ordinary pizza. Less fat in the cheese, less fat in the meat, less salt in the sauce.
But here’s the thing. The Domino’s trucks and Domino’s delivery people and Domino’s pizza boxes and Domino’s placards hung on the lunch lines all help to imprint the company’s red and blue brand on the brains of students. All this brain branding raises the odds that when school gets out, kids will head to a Domino’s shop where the company says it has no plans to sell the smart slice. Just its regular fare, which to the kids all looks pretty much the same.
Domino’s is hardly alone in this. A crush of processed food companies are now making more healthful versions of their snacks to sell in schools which is prompting consumer advocates to call for new ground rules about the use of brand names. Domino’s says it’s quite willing to deliver its pizzas without branding. But to avoid school food a ticket to obesity, advocates still want the USDA to bar any branding on the healthier products that are not widely available outside the school gates.