• Mon, May 7 2012

Domino’s Goes Gluten-Free, Makes Disease-Inducing Junk Food Equal Opportunity

dominos gluten free

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.

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  • Heather

    This really pisses me off. The fad diet of “gluten-free” is NOT a good diet. As a celiac, I have to take supplements so that my body gets the nutrients it doesnt from HAVING to be gluten free. IF a company like this, is going to cater to people that ACTUALLY have a disease and it is necessary to BE gluten-free, they need to take the proper actions to do so. This announcement therefore means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in regards to having a gluten free option. If you are not going to cater to those with the actual auto-immune disease or someone that has a gluten allergy, then companies should not even bother with this. They are not developing a solution. 90% of people that have Celiac Disease have not even been diagnosed…so if they really want to jump on this $6 billion dollar industry, they should take that information into perspective. They are not going to increase their sales by not catering to those who have no choice but to adhere to the gluten-free diet. Thanks for nothing Dominos.

    • Briana Rognlin

      Yeah…I think it would be nearly impossible for a business like Domino’s to make a gluten-free product that was actually safe for people with Celiac Disease (b/c with so much wheat flour and dough in their kitchens, they’d basically have to build separate locations that are exclusively GF), but then…you’re right, the label is deceptive and clearly, the product was made to cater to the fad more than people who actually need gluten-free foods.

  • Blunt_Logic

    I really miss the occasional take-out pizza, but anything made in a facility that also uses the same implements for gluten containing foods probably isn’t up to the standards required for someone with Celiac.

  • victoria

    plenty of restaurants and pizza places are now providing gluten free options. these are usually smaller local places and tend to be within the city where some people can’t access it. some people might actually be happy that bigger chain stores are now trying to provide options for people who can’t or choose not to eat gluten.

  • Max

    I run a company called CeliAct and we make nutritional supplements specifically for people with celiac disease (http://www.CeliAct.com). We took Domino’s gluten-free pizzas from three different cities and tested them in our lab for gluten. The results speak for themselves. Check it out on our blog: http://www.celiact.com/blog/2012/05/31/108-dominos-gluten-free-pizza-gluten-free-lab-test

  • Judy Pote

    I’m gluten intolerant and have been gluten free for about 10 years. I think it’s great to see more restaurants offering gluten-free options. I buy my pizza from local pizza shops that offer a G-F crust. They also use fresh and healthy ingredients! Pizza should not be lumped in with “junk food”. Fresh tomato sauce, fresh cheese, peppers and mushrooms – come on people what’s wrong with that? If I had a GF child it would be great for him/her to be able to go to a friend’s birthday party and eat the pizza with all the other kids.
    Gluten-free and Grain-free for that matter is an excellent diet! Try eating whole foods like organic vegetables, fruits, dairy and meats/fish. No grain in any of those foods. Who needs it? Why would anyone need supplements?