Domino's reportedly has 4,900 outlets in the United States, as of the third quarter of 2013. The pizza chain has more than 3,000 locations … inside school lunchrooms.
No bricks, no mortar, little overhead and these customers can't go to Pizza Hut or Papa John's.
Our schools don't have enough money for education and to feed the children in their care. So we farm this out to private companies, such as Domino's.
The pizza chain couldn't be in the schools unless it offered a healthier food product, one that you can't find in the 4,900 outlets outside school walls.
The Smart Slice has 35% less sodium in pizza sauce, ½ the fat in the "Lite Mozzarella cheese" and a 100 mg reduction in sodium, and pepperoni with 33% less fat and ½ the sodium.
The kicker is a "magic" concoction of 51% white whole-wheat flour designed to replicate the crust found in the public Domino's locations.
The school requirement is 50% whole grains hence the 51%. Domino's identifies it as "white whole-wheat flour" and says the pizza has 4g fiber per serving.
The mock element is riper than the tomatoes they use for the sauce to put on the pizza. The Colbert Report segment takes care of a few of those points.
Domino's is adamant about not offering the slightly healthier option in its public stores. This tells us that the taste is altered significantly enough that its customers could tell the difference.
The students who eat the Smart Slice likely notice a difference as well, but they're kids and pizza in school is still pizza.
It's easy to say that either version of Domino's pizza is not that great. When Domino's announced that it's improving its product, the underlying theme was that the previous product was not that good.
Full disclosure: I don't eat much pizza because of my physical issues with mozzarella cheese. Even with that, I haven't had a slice of Domino's since 1986. By contrast, I've had Pizza Hut pizza within the last 2 years.
The larger point is why the [bleep] does Domino's or any other fast food outlet have 3,000 location in school lunchrooms in 38 states. The slightly healthier pizza Domino's offers in schools isn't close to the pizza they are hinting you should buy in the outside world. Literally bait and switch. While school children should learn that lesson at some point in their lives, this is not the road to take.
Kids will learn enough about brand names in the outside world without that being reinforced in schools. While it's "fun" for kids to have pizza in school, learning about food in school means finding different ways to achieve nutrition goals, and you can't live on pizza in the outside world (especially since that pizza is significantly different than the pizza in school).
Pizza is not a vegetable, even with lycopene in the tomato sauce. Pizza is a delivery technique for high-fat cheese, sodium-rich cheese and meat with some occasional vegetables thrown into the mix. Sure it's fun in moderation, but building an existence on pizza, even ones that barely meet borderline standards, is no way for children to get through lunch at school.
When we hear the phrase "think of the children," we should think about what they have to deal with at school. We wouldn't treat our kids at home the way we seem to expect to treat them at school.
Kids are not a commodity. Companies have the freedom to think of people as commodities, but we should have higher standards, much higher than 51%.
video credit: Colbert Report