The news yesterday that Domino’s Pizza was now offering a gluten free pizza crust in all of its stores was met with celebration in my home! They are the first national pizza delivery chain to offer this. Pre-GF days, pizza had been my absolute favorite food. Nowadays, I make a pretty decent GF pizza – with quite a bit of work and time involved.
My family and I went out and picked up a few of the new gluten free pizzas last night from the Domino’s located in Pampa, Texas. We took them to a nearby park to enjoy. They tasted fantastic – crisp crust, the savory Domino’s pizza sauce, and that pizza-oven taste that home ovens just cannot duplicate. My GF son told me it was the best pizza he had ever had. I heard exclamations like, “Mom, finally I know what REAL pizza tastes like!” As most of you know, he has been GF since the age of 3; he is now 10. This was a pretty big event for all of us.
Domino’s pretty clearly states up front that, due to potential cross-contamination issues, this pizza was not recommended for those with Celiac Disease. 3rd party testing had shown most results were well below 20 ppm for gluten, and Domino’s garnered an Amber Rating from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). This means the ingredients are verified gluten free and staff has been trained, but kitchen practices may vary.
Really, this didn’t surprise me – at many restaurants where I dine, there is similar fine print on the bottom of the gluten free menus. What DID surprise me, however, was the negative reactions of some of my gluten free peers. Their worry is that Celiacs will unknowingly consume gluten. I feel that Domino’s is doing an excellent job in clearly stating everywhere that cross-contamination is possible. Their press release, YouTube video, even when you click the button to order a gluten free crust all warn consumers about the potential for cross contamination. I call this responsible communication, and I appreciate it.
After my hands-on experience with the pizza, I contacted Domino’s to ask a few things. I spoke with Chris Brandon, Spokesperson for Domino’s, and he was very helpful with answering my questions.
GLUTENVYGIRL: Why did your company decide to create a gluten free pizza crust?
CHRIS BRANDON, DOMINO’S SPOKESPERSON: We created it for the 18 million people living with gluten sensitivities. The first thing we wanted to do was to do our homework. We wanted to be as educated, open, and informative as possible. We partnered with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) to do so. We also wanted to keep in mind WHO our product is for, as well as who it is NOT for.
GEG: What kind of employee training have you implemented with regards to this product?
DOMINO’S: Education. This is our first time developing a product like this, and all team members have been educated about handling the gluten free crusts. We want this executed well, like any pilot that we do. We made sure team members knew how to execute this and do it right.
GEG: I read that you had independent 3rd party testing and the pizza tested less that 20ppm (parts per million) of gluten. Was this testing done in an independent kitchen, or in a standard Domino’s Pizza kitchen?
DOMINO’S: Most product testing tested far less than 20ppm. The testing was done in a shared kitchen, on standard Domino’s equipment at stores across the country. We actually did an additional round of testing as well, just to make sure we were getting a good sample. With the Amber Designation from NFCA, it isn’t enough to be safe for those with Celiac.
GEG: Do you have plans for other gluten free items in the future?
DOMINO’S: Currently, we are waiting to see – we want to do what helps the consumers, what tastes good, and what this audience wants from us. We want to be very clear about who this product is for and who it is not.
GEG: Is there anything else that you would like readers to know?
DOMINO’S: In partnership with the NFCA, we are pleased to be offering this choice for the gluten free consumer. We know it is a rising need. We are proud of the gluten free crust that we are now offering. We will continue to ensure the best we can that we make consumers aware of who it is recommended for and who it is not.
A few more notes:
Domino’s gluten free crusts are available in one size – small, 10-inch crusts.
The GF crusts, as with all their crusts, are delivered directly from a supplier.
Pizza toppings are not all gluten free; use caution when selecting your toppings.
If you have Celiac Disease, this is not the product for you.
Exercise your judgement when it comes to the potential for cross-contamination and how it could affect your own gluten intolerance or sensitivity.
A big thank you to Chris Brandon with Domino’s for taking the time today to chat with me! I really appreciate this company, and I look forward to enjoying this pizza again (& again) in the future!
Tags: crust, delivery, dining out, domino's, gluten free, interview, pizza, Restaurants