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What is Domino’s Pizza Doing in Our Schools?

What is Domino’s Pizza Doing in Our Schools?

With childhood obesity on the rise, the US Department of Agriculture began raising nutrition standards for school food in 2012. The assumption was that fast foods and snacks were the culprits, and that the revised standards would convince schools to drop fast foods from school lunches and nutrition breaks. But leave it to the enterprising fast food industry to keep their products alive in schools. A classic example is Domino’s Pizza.

The Slice that Undercut the USDA

To circumvent the USDA’s latest nutrition guidelines, Domino’s started delivering a pizza called Smart Slice to more than 3,000 lunchrooms in 38 states. Smart Slice has 1/3 less fat in the pepperoni, 1/3 less salt in the sauce, and half the cheese fat than its regular pizza—so it meets USDA’s latest standards. The USDA also insisted that at least half the grains in pizza be whole grains (which generally provide more fiber and other nutrients than refined white flour). Domino’s met this head on with white, whole-wheat flour called Ultragrain, which makes up 51 percent of the flour in its crusts.

A Pie with a Pitch

The new “healthier” pizza also came with a hefty marketing pitch for the Domino’s brand. The company delivers its pizzas directly to schools. So their trucks, employee uniforms, insulated boxes and lunch-line placards ubiquitously brand the company’s red-and-blue logo into young impressionable student minds. Nutritionists fear this on-campus branding primes students to head for Domino’s after school or on weekends to devour its regular non-USDA pizza (Domino’s says it has no plans to sell the Smart Slice in shops).

Bar the Brand

The problem isn’t limited to Domino’s or even pizza. As chip, cereal and snack manufacturers begin altering their recipes for school lunches and nutrition breaks, new “school healthy” products will be created, sold and branded. To combat this trend, the Public Health Advocacy Institute, a consumer group, has asked the Department of Agriculture to bar any branding of those products if they are not also widely available outside schools. Case in point: Chicago’s public schools already refuse to serve reformulated products to their 400,000 students, insisting that the brands frustrate efforts to teach students better eating habits. Offering an olive branch to health advocate, a Domino’s spokesman noted, “Some schools like the branding because brands drive sales,” but added that Domino’s is prepared to drop its logo on request.


Read more: Appetizers & Snacks, Eating for Health, Food, Health, Obesity, , , ,

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Alex A. Kecskes

As owner/president of AK CreativeWorks, Alex A. Kecskes is a national award-winning writer/blogger/journalist who has written over 2,000 published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, careers, consumer tech, arts/entertainment and many other topics. He also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Follow Alex on twitter at


+ add your own
12:42AM PST on Feb 6, 2015

Thank you!

5:38AM PDT on Jul 15, 2014

Thanks for the article.

11:14AM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

"What is Domino's pizza doing in our schools?" Making a buck, as has been said. Why else? Thanks.

6:52PM PDT on Jul 7, 2014


1:57PM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

It's the wrong 'food' to feed growing children. Thanks for the article.

1:19PM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

They shouldn't be allowed to call that pizza, never mind serving it in schools...

9:36AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

That's what I'd like to know about it.

8:23AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

Unfortunately $$$$ comes 1st even over our childrens health+education. Nothing new...

4:30AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

Maybe Care2 will also sign a contract with Domino's? Every sponsor counts.

4:29AM PDT on Jul 7, 2014

Getting customers and making money.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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