TORONTO, June 3 /CNW/ – Responding to the dietary needs and trends expressed by consumers, Pizza Pizza will now offer gluten-free pizza at all of its traditional restaurants. The wide-scale introduction of gluten-free pizza by Pizza Pizza follows the favorable results of a recent pilot test of the product in select GTA restaurants.
“The pilot results exceeded our expectations,” said Pizza Pizza’s Chief
Marketing Officer, Pat Finelli. “One of our objectives in offering this menu
option is to provide a dietary alternative for people that are unable to eat
gluten products. The reaction we received from market testing was extremely
positive, especially from those with celiac disease. Consumers that had been
unable to enjoy pizza were thanking us for introducing this new menu offering
and allowing them to enjoy pizza once again.”
Gluten intolerance, or celiac disease, affects an estimated 1 in 133
Canadians, according to Health Canada and the Canadian Celiac Association. It
is an inherited immune disease in which the lining of the small intestine is
damaged by gluten, a protein found in such grains as wheat, barley and rye.
The only therapy for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet.
Pizza Pizza is the first major player in the quick-service restaurant
industry to provide a gluten-free crust, which uses rice and potato-based
flour as the main ingredient. By choosing the light and crispy rice-based
dough – along with toppings from our gluten-free list – consumers can enjoy a
delicious gluten-free meal made especially for them. Currently, Pizza Pizza’s
gluten-free crusts are available in the 12-inch medium format, the company’s
most popular pizza size.
In making the gluten-free crust, Pizza Pizza has implemented a series of
procedures and controls to prevent product cross-contamination. Mr. Brian S.
Payne, Director, Commissary and Supply Chain Management for Pizza Pizza, says
it is no different than handling any other allergen. In addition to having
specific utensils for the product, the company has sent all franchisees an
updated training guide containing new product information, educational
material about celiac disease, as well as cooking and sanitizing procedures.
The gluten-free crust is another in a series of health-conscious
innovations by Pizza Pizza. In recent years, the cutting-edge company has
introduced whole-wheat multigrain dough, a source of Omega 3 fatty acid and
fiber, partly skimmed mozzarella cheese and sodium-reduced sauces and cheese
to its menu offerings. Pizza Pizza was one of the first in the industry to
remove industrially-added trans-fats from its entire menu.
“The introduction of this new gluten-free menu offering is a natural
extension of our initiatives in striving to provide our customers with a
variety of healthy options that respond to their individual needs,” said
Finelli. “We know that a significant segment of the population is gluten
sensitive or intolerant, and offering this new menu option is a way of
bringing pizza back into their lives and routine.”
For a complete list of allergens and menu options at Pizza Pizza, please
About Pizza Pizza
Pizza Pizza’s evolution as a major force in the pizza industry has been
marked by such innovations as the first one-number system for telephone
orders, with a unique jingle to go with it, and the first computerized
order-taking system. Among its many menu innovations are the introduction of
healthier lifestyle options that include whole-wheat multi-grain dough and the
elimination of industrially added trans fats from all menu items. Pizza Pizza
pays royalties on top-line system sales to Pizza Pizza Royalty Income Fund,
which is a publicly traded company (PZA.UN), and has annual sales exceeding
$400 million. Pizza Pizza expanded its Western Canada operations in 2007 with
the purchase of 48 “Pizza 73” restaurants. In addition to its Quebec locations
expansion, the company is continuing to extend its business operations through
non-traditional sites and organic growth in communities throughout the