Healthy Pizza? Definitely.

Pizza can be a wonderfully nutritious and healthy meal,” emphasizes Anita Jones, MPH, president and CEO of Healthy Dining. What is healthy? Jones explains that a healthy meal is full of nutrient-rich ingredients, while balanced in calories, fat, carbohydrates and protein. Healthy meals include plenty of fresh fruits and/or vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. “A pizza crust, especially a whole grain crust, is the perfect foundation to hold a medley of healthy ingredients.”

MARKETING HEALTHY PIZZA

#1: Achieve Great Taste:

“Probably the most important key to success in marketing healthy pizza is taste. Guests are looking for taste first and then health benefits,” emphasizes Jones. “And the best way to achieve great taste and good nutrition is to use high quality ingredients.” Amir Sabetian, Z Pizza’s director of operations reflects, “Twenty years ago, when we opened our first Z Pizza, we were committed to using only the best ingredients. Over time, we have added wheat crusts, low-carb crusts, part skim mozzarella cheese, non-fat cheese, low- fat organic sauces and lots of vegetables!

Our customers love our food.” A Z Pizza guest recently raved after trying the Sweet Potato and Arugula Salad Pizza, “this is the best combination of flavors EVER in my mouth at the same time!”

#2: Provide Accurate Nutrition Information:

When offering healthy choices, it is important to have the menu items analyzed for nutrition content to verify that they meet recommended nutrition guidelines. For accuracy, make sure the nutrition analysis is performed by a professional nutrition organization proficient in restaurant nutrition analysis. “Many times, we have met with restaurants who are offering inaccurate nutrition information done by a dietitian who is a customer. It’s important that the nutrition information is accurate and that requires a culinary nutrition professional trained in restaurant nutrition analysis,” contends Jones.

“We regularly receive e-mails from our patrons asking for the nutrition information,” emphasizes Rebecca Andrews, marketing director of Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza. “We have found that our customers are very interested in nutritional content from the restaurants they frequent.”

Z Pizza has recently posted nutrition information for all Z Pizza menu items on their website, www.zpizza.com. “Our customers are pleased to have nutrition information for our menu items. It is just one more thing that sets us apart from our competition and shows our customers that we care about them,” says Sabetian.

#3. Utilize Marketing Strategies Within Your Restaurant:

     • Menus – Provide guests with a listing of menu items that meet the healthy dining guidelines. Healthy dining menus also include nutrition information and ‘Special Request’ ordering information, if needed (i.e. ‘Request less cheese’). “We have a variety of healthy dining menu options for our customers to choose from. We have found that the menus are perfect to promote our healthy options to our customers,” says Andrews.

     • Stickers – Use window stickers on menus to let customers know that they will be able to find healthy choices.

     • Menu Emblems – High-quality labels that can be placed on standard menus to notify customers that healthy menu items and nutrition information is available upon request.

     • Website – Have nutrition information in an electronic format that can easily be uploaded to the restaurant’s website.

#4. Emphasize Marketing in the Community

“We have found that the media loves a story about restaurants with a healthy twist,” reveals Jones. “We recommend that restaurants deliver their healthy fare with a press release to local television anchors, radio talk show hosts, and radio dee jays. Also, send invitations and information to food and health editors at your local newspapers. Your healthy food is your best advertising and you are sure to get some great buzz! In addition, you can send coupon offers and information to nearby physicians, dietitians, weight control and fitness centers. There are so many community organizations and professionals that are interested in restaurants that offer healthy choices.” Healthy Dining provides a list of strategies that guides restaurants in promoting healthy choices to the media and the community.

EXAMPLES OF HEALTHY PIZZA:

Z Pizza (30 locations in California, Nevada, Arizona and Virginia) offers the following healthy pizzas:
TUSCAN MUSHROOM PIZZA With mushrooms, green onions, oreg- ano, garlic sauce and feta cheese on a whole wheat crust.
325 calories, 9 grams fat for 1/2 of 10” pizza.

SANTE FE PIZZA With chicken sausage, red onions, corn, Serrano chiles, tomatoes, cilantro and southwest chipotle pesto with non-fat mozzarella cheese on a whole wheat crust.
440 calories, 10 grams fat for 1/2 of 10” pizza.

PROVENCE PIZZA With artichoke hearts, capers, tomatoes, roasted garlic, basil, marinara, and non-fat mozzarella cheese on a whole wheat crust.
425 calories, 8 grams fat for 1/2 of 10” pizza.

THAI PIZZA With spicy chicken, red onions, cilantro, carrots, bean sprouts, peanut sauce and non-fat mozzarella on a whole wheat crust.
430 calories, 6 grams fat for 1/2 of 10” pizza.

Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza (12 locations in California, Nevada & Arizona) offers the following healthy pizza:
VEGETARIAN PIZZA With grilled eggplant, onions, bell peppers, fon- tina, garlic, zucchini and Roma tomatoes with fat-free mozzarella.
445 calories, 11 grams fat for 1/2 of pizza.

Fitness Pizza (2 locations in Southern California) offers the following healthy pizza:
HOCKEY PLAYER PIZZA Marinated pieces of chicken breast and plenty of artichoke hearts topped with fresh pesto sauce.
325 calories, 10 grams fat for 1/2 of pizza.

IRON MAN PIZZA Fresh spinach, sliced mushrooms, low-fat ricotta cheese and sliced black olives. A great source of iron and folic acid.
265 calories, 12 grams fat for 1/2 of pizza.

Roundtable Pizza offers the following healthy pizza:

GUINEVERE’S GARDEN DELIGHT PIZZA Our classic red sauce, three cheeses, mushrooms, black olives, Roma tomatoes, yellow onions and green peppers.
420 calories, 14 grams fat for two slices.

GOURMET VEGGIE Creamy garlic sauce, three cheeses, artichoke hearts, zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, Roma tomatoes, red and green onions, Italian herb seasoning and lots of chopped garlic.
440 calories, 18 grams fat for two slices.

CHICKEN & GARLIC GOURMET PIZZA Creamy garlic sauce, three cheeses, roasted chicken, mushrooms, Roma tomatoes, red and green onions, Italian herb seasoning & lots of chopped garlic.
460 calories, 18 grams fat for two slices.