Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Pizza Pizza Goes Gluten-free in Toronto

Canadians who suffer from an allergic intolerance to wheat or gluten will find it easier to enjoy a freshly made pizza. Pizza Pizza, a regular innovator in the QSR segment of the foodservice industry, has announced a pilot project to offer a gluten-free dough recipe in some 50 Greater Toronto Area restaurant locations.

Pizza Pizza is the first of the major players to bring out the gluten-free dough, which uses rice and potato-based flour as the main ingredient. The gluten-free offering adds to Pizza Pizza’s existing dough options, which features classic and multigrain whole-wheat dough recipes. Consumers can also choose from among Pizza Pizza’s numerous toppings - the vast majority of which are also gluten free - to make their favourite traditional and gourmet pizzas. The company has received positive feedback from preliminary sampling and hopes to proceed with a chain-wide roll-out in the near future.

“Our product development team have been working on the gluten-free recipe for some time, and we are extremely pleased to be able to provide a healthy, nutritious new menu offering that responds to a need expressed by a growing number of consumers and their families,” said Pat Finelli, chief marketing officer for Pizza Pizza. “The introduction of our gluten-free crust will allow people who have an allergic response or an intolerance to wheat or gluten to enjoy our pizza while respecting their dietary regime.”

Gluten intolerance, or celiac disease, affects an estimated 1 in 133 Canadians. It is an inherited autoimmune disease in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged by gluten, a protein found in such grains as wheat, barley and rye. The only therapy for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. People with irritable bowel syndrome or autism can also have intolerance or allergic responses to gluten.

In addition to being made from rice and potato-based flour, Pizza Pizza’s gluten-free shells are par-baked and require no dusting flour, thereby avoiding cross-contamination with gluten-based products. Store staff has been specially trained to understand the importance of cross contamination as a food safety matter.The vast majority of the sauces available at Pizza Pizza are also gluten-free. Initially, Pizza Pizza’s gluten-free crusts are only available in the 12-inch medium format, the company’s most popular pizza size, for an additional price of $3.25.

The gluten-free crust is another in a series of health-conscious innovations by Pizza Pizza. In recent years, the industry leader has introduced whole-wheat multigrain dough, eliminated industrially-added trans fats from its entire menu, and improved the nutritional makeup of its cheese and sauces. For a complete list of allergens and menu options at Pizza Pizza, please visit


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