Attacks on 'unhealthy pizza' rise as menu labeling draws closer

Sept. 27, 2010

Yahoo! Health has launched yet another scathing attack on takeout pizza. Much like the recent "deadliest pizza" list run this month by popular blog/news site The Daily Beast, Yahoo's post was titled "7 Worst Pizzas in America," and was penned by author David Zinczenko of "Eat This! Not That!" fame.

The more recent piece included a motley list of nutritionally offensive categories, including “Worst Supermarket Pizzas” (DiGiorno For One Traditional Crust Supreme Pizza); “Worst Multi-National Pizza” (California Pizza Kitchen Tostada Pizza with Grilled Steak); and “Worst Specialty Crust Pizza” (Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Meat Lover’s Pizza).

Pizza has never had a reputation as the most stellar health food – why all the “worst of” lists now?

Dr. Richard George, professor of food marketing at the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University and a prolific food marketing author, believes part of the assault is the proximity of menu labeling laws going into effect. Additionally, he believes the media may be tiring of going after burgers.

Rather than fret about the mounting attacks, George think it’s in delivery chains' best interest to ignore the direct attacks.

“Pizza a couple days a week is not going to endanger anyone’s life,” George said. “It’s a great comfort food. It’s also the kind of thing runners eat before and after races – and there’s a lot of ways you can get it, without cheese, and all that.

"If I were the industry, I would just say, ‘everything in moderation, including moderation.’”

Other industry insiders recommend ensuring everything is being done to appeal to all consumers with a diversified menu. For example, national online ordering repository president Ed Zimmerman recommends that pizzerias stick to their core recipes, but also pre-empt veto votes with a diversified menu – and make sure to target healthier items in marketing campaigns at times.

Topics: Food & Beverage , Health & Nutrition

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