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Domino's Pizza has launched a program to promote healthy, active lifestyles for schoolchildren. The Domino's Smart Slice program is centered on the company's white whole-wheat, reduced-fat and reduced-sodium pizza, which is being delivered to schools as a healthy lunch alternative.
Thus far, the program has rolled out to more than 120 school districts with 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."
Currently, 93 percent of schools in the United States serve frozen pizza. A survey by NPD Group revealed that only one in four kids enjoy the taste of this option. Domino's hopes to change kids' opinions with its new program.
"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."
The Domino's Smart Slice was specifically developed to meet nutritional guidelines recently proposed by the USDA.
"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."
Domino's Smart Slice program was created with the help of school nutrition professionals and members of the dairy industry, who provided insight on product innovation.
"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 bring Domino's Smart Slice to fruition.
Through its partnership with Dairy Management Inc. and its nutrition arm, the National Dairy Council, Domino's also is 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.
"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.
Doyle serves on the board of directors for the foundation, 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.
"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."
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