Anyone who struggles with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance will tell you that, despite rumors of weight loss “perks” spurred by stars like Miley Cyrus, it can actually make life really difficult. Which is why it’s great to see so many restaurants and food manufacturers taking their food sensitivities to heart—including Domino’s Pizza, which is rolling out a new gluten-free crust, developed in conjunction with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. But is making disease-inducing junk food equal opportunity really the kind of food revolution we need? I think not.
The company announced today that they’re offering a gluten-free crust, to cater to people “who suffer from mild gluten intolerance.” There’s the catch: According to a statement released from Domino’s president and CEO J. Patrick Doyle, the decision was made in response to customer requests…but the company also cautions that anyone with a severe gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease should still steer clear of the crust (it won’t be prepped in a separate kitchen, so cross-contamination is likely–and triggers an adverse reaction in those with a severe intolerance).
I know, commenters will hate me for criticizing Domino’s and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. But here’s my beef (aside from the fact that Domino’s isn’t actually solving any problems for people with Celiac Disease, or even a serious intolerance): Of all the problems with our food system, making junk food equal opportunity seems like it should be a low priority.
It’s nice that some consumers are seeing more options (because in reality, kids do prefer pizza parties to celebratory salads…and it’s great for all kids to be included). But companies like Domino’s aren’t suddenly more concerned with their customer’s health—they’re just responding to a $6 billion-plus market opportunity. Instead of companies rushing in to profit off of health issues like gluten sensitivity and celiac disease—without actually making anything healthy—we wish more companies would find a way to make money while making health a real priority.