ANN ARBOR, Mich., Jan. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Domino's Pizza (NYSE: DPZ), the recognized world leader in pizza delivery, is striving to be a part of the solution when it comes to promoting healthy, active lifestyles for young people - highlighted by the launch of its Domino's Smart Slice school lunch pizza.
Domino's Smart Slice is a white whole-wheat, reduced fat and reduced sodium pizza, which is baked fresh and delivered to schools. Domino's Smart Slice is already being served in more than 120 school districts, and Domino's plans to double that number within the next year.
"This is a new approach to delivering pizza to schools, and we are extremely excited about the potential of Domino's Smart Slice," said J. Patrick Doyle, Domino's Pizza president and chief executive officer. "We are pleased with the launch, and the feedback from school districts has been very positive - which makes us believe the upside is tremendous. We want to lead change in this area."
With 93 percent of schools in the U.S. serving frozen pizza, and NPD research showing that only one in four kids enjoys the taste, Domino's sees an opportunity to provide hot food that not only meets nutrition guidelines - but also tastes great.
"Most of the pizza currently served in schools by other companies is frozen and not as nutritious as it could be," said Doyle. "These freshly baked pizzas can help schools meet or exceed nutritional requirements and goals, while appealing to kids with great taste."
This comes on the heels of the announcement late last week that the USDA has proposed new federal guidelines for school lunch. Domino's Smart Slice was specifically developed to meet these newly proposed federal guidelines.
Domino's has created solid relationships throughout the country with school nutrition professionals and others who also want to be part of the solution that includes pizza. Domino's partnership with the dairy industry has resulted in insights that supported product innovation.
"Domino's Smart Slice is a fantastic example of industry collaborating with America's dairy producers to develop an innovative solution that nourishes children," said Tom Gallagher, Dairy Management, Inc. CEO.
"We have been conscious that pizza can be perceived as not healthy, and Domino's Smart Slice solves that problem," said Brent Craig, director of nutrition services in Douglas County, Colo., a participant school district. "Pizza is without a doubt our students' favorite food, and serving this gives us an option that is nutritious - not to mention, our students love it. It's a great win-win for us."
"The development of Domino's Smart Slice shows how the collaboration among dairy farmers, schools, processors and major food brands like Domino's can result in healthier, flavorful and fresh school food choices for our children," said Cindy Haren, Western Dairy Association CEO, whose organization worked closely with local franchisees and schools to make Domino's Smart Slice a success.
"The team effort approach and support we have realized in collaborating with school districts and nutrition experts has reaffirmed that Domino's is doing the right thing," said Steve Clough, Domino's Pizza director of school lunch sales. "Nothing provides nutrition for kids if they don't eat it - so we strove to find a terrific balance of nutrition and great taste that we can't wait for more people to try."
Through its partnership with Dairy Management Inc. and its nutrition arm, National Dairy Council,Domino's is a founding partner of a new foundation developed to create nutrition and physical fitness opportunities in schools. The flagship program of the new foundation is Fuel Up To Play 60. Doyle is on the board of directors, along with representatives from other public, private and health professional sectors, and Russell Weiner, Domino's Pizza chief marketing officer, has been tapped as a strategic marketing resource.
"In addition to providing schools with a nutritious and great-tasting product, we want to continue utilizing programs and partnerships that help promote healthy living," said Doyle.
With healthier options on the minds of many this time of year, Domino's Pizza can help with its extremely customizable pizza offerings. With crust, sauce and topping varieties and portion options, Domino's wants to grow the awareness of how it can help customers who are looking for a healthier post-holiday option.
"Few people know this, but there are actually 34 million ways to make a single Domino's pizza," said Doyle. "Consumers truly have the power to create as nutritious or indulgent of a pizza combination as they wish."
Founded in 1960, Domino's Pizza is the recognized world leader in pizza delivery. Domino's is listed on the NYSE under the symbol "DPZ." Through its primarily locally-owned and operated franchised system, Domino's operates a network of 9,169 franchised and Company-owned stores in the United States and over 60 international markets. The Domino's Pizza(R) brand, named a Megabrand by Advertising Age magazine, had global retail sales of over $5.6 billion in 2009, comprised of nearly $3.1 billion domestically and over $2.5 billion internationally. During the third quarter of 2010, the Domino's Pizza(R) brand had global retail sales of nearly $1.4 billion, comprised of over $747 million domestically and nearly $650 million internationally. In June 2010, Pizza Today, the leading publication of the pizza industry, named Domino's its "Chain of the Year" - making the company a two-time winner of the honor, which it previously received in 2003. Domino's has expanded its menu significantly since 2008 to include Oven Baked Sandwiches and BreadBowl Pasta(TM), and in 2009 debuted its 'Inspired New Pizza' - a permanent change to its hand-tossed product, reinvented from the crust up with new sauce, cheese and garlic-seasoned crust.
SOURCE Domino's Pizza, Inc.