Making dough with Diane: Eight ideas for marketing healthy pies

Tips to bust the myth that pizza is always bad for you
Diane Chiasson
November 26, 2010
The end of 2010 is fast approaching. People want to get a fresh start in the new year, and many make resolutions to do such things as start a diet, lose weight or eat more healthy foods. You can take advantage of this New Year’s trend by marketing your menu as a healthy choice for people trying to stick to their resolutions. Pizza is a comfort food that can also be nourishing. It’s important for you to be a source of education for your customers.

Here are eight tips to get people thinking of pizza as healthy fare and not junk food. With a few clever marketing strategies, you can have people feasting on pizza as their go-to diet food!

Tomato sauce is chock full of lycopene, a nutrient that is found in tomatoes. Lycopenes have great antioxidant benefits and unlike many other nutrients, lycopene does not dissipate during the cooking process. In fact, pizza sauce has a more concentrated value of lycopene than a raw tomato!

Tomatoes also contain beta-carotene and vitamin C. Overall, tomatoes are a powerful food that provides many health benefits.

Garlic and onions both contain a variety of natural antioxidants that can help fight infections, diseases and illnesses, and heal the human body. Garlic is also widely believed to help prevent colds and flu. During the winter months, create an immune-building pizza with extra garlic and onions, and market it as a cold and flu busting pie.

Complex carbs
Many people believe that in order to lose weight, they must eliminate all types of carbohydrates from their diets and subsist on a diet of protein, dairy, fruits and vegetables. This is a myth. In fact, many complex carbohydrates will help the body shed weight faster. Market your special whole-wheat crust as a complex carbohydrate, and print out POS materials that tell your customers the benefits of eating whole-grain products.

Raw food
Raw vegetables – especially leafy green vegetables – are extremely rich in minerals, vitamins, trace elements, enzymes and natural sugars, and are good for your body. Create a pizza that is topped with a mixture of raw leafy greens like baby spinach, wild arugula or a mesclun mix. Sprinkle on a confetti of diced raw tomatoes, green, yellow and red peppers, and you have yourself one very nutritious and delicious pizza.

Fat-free cheese
Many people think of pizza as a fattening food, mainly because of the cheese. But cheese is a great source of protein, calcium and phosphorus. So, how can we sell our cheese pizza as a healthy food item? By cutting down the amount of cheese on the pizza and using different cheeses that have a lower fat content. Instead of using cheese as a central ingredient, use it to accent your pizza. Try aged cheeses that are more flavourful, like extra-sharp cheddar, Gorgonzola, Parmesan or Asiago. Low-fat cheeses are also widely available, like part-skimmed mozzarella, farmer’s cheese, low-fat feta or fat-free ricotta. Goat cheese can also have a lower fat content and fewer calories than cheeses made from cow’s milk.
Lower-fat meats
While pepperoni, sausage and bacon are perennial favourite pizza toppings, offer your customers the choice of less fatty meats like turkey bacon and pepperoni, chicken sausage or chicken breast. Create a delicious meat-lovers’ pizza featuring more healthful and nutritious meats, and sell it as a meat lover’s with half the fat pizza.

The 300-calorie pizza
Work with a nutritionist to develop a pizza that has 300 calories or less. This offers customers who are counting calories something delicious and filling that won’t exceed their calorie count for the day.

It also makes it much simpler and more convenient for your customers if you have already counted the calories for them.
Fresh ingredients
Impress with the eyes. Use the freshest produce available to merchandise in your storefront window or countertop, and stress the abundance of healthful items found in your pizza. If customers see that you are using lots of fresh vegetables, it will make them feel good about eating it!

Make the most of your customers’ commitment to a healthier lifestyle in the new year. Educate them about your more nutritious pizzas and focus on the health benefits your pies can deliver.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for more than 25 years. She provides innovative food and retail merchandising programs, interior design, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit .

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