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It’s Not Delivery, it’s…Disappointment

April 5, 2011

Maybe we’re just being overly sensitive here at the MHK, but we’re pretty sure we’ve heard something about an obesity problem in our country, and how many food companies are trying to be more responsible by offering healthier alternatives and such.  Or at the very least, the companies that produce unhealthy food certainly wouldn’t be introducing even less healthy food into the market, right?  Well the good folks at DiGiorno frozen pizza have apparently turned up their middle fingers to the healthier food trend by creating a winning combination for junk food-aholics.  By itself, their frozen pizza isn’t all that unhealthy – one serving of cheese pizza has 9 grams of fat and 270 calories, though it’s somewhat high in sodium content at 710 grams.  But for pizza, that’s not bad.  However, they are now packaging pizzas with side dishes, such as breadsticks, boneless Buffalo wings, and that classic pizza go-together, chocolate chip cookies. Yup. Now you can bake your pizza and cookies at the same time! Hooray!

We have to assume that they did some kind of focus group, some sort of test marketing to see if people would actually want to buy their pizza and cookies together.  And apparently (and unfortunately not surprisingly) people do.  And that’s kind of sad.  For those of us who work all day and have small children at home, frozen pizza is a good time-saver dinner option on occasion.  But there really is no need to compound the lack of nutrition in the pizza by adding an unhealthy dessert to the box. 

Obviously part of the blame lies with the general public, because as we mentioned, it’s unlikely that DiGiorno would have unleashed this gastronomic nightmare without knowing there was a market for it.  But blame has to be given to DiGiorno as well, for even coming up with the idea.  I applaud their creativity in adding side dishes to frozen pizza; it’s an original idea, and having some wings or breadsticks with pizza – while still not healthy – at least makes some sort of food combo sense.  But what couch potato over there decided that offering cookies with pizza was a great idea? 

It’s been an ongoing debate about whether fast food companies should continue to offer their unhealthy products. Some say the public knows what they’re eating, and it’s up to the consumers to make good choices.  Others say if the food producers offered more healthy dishes and less unhealthy food, consumers would be forced to make better choices.  So with the pizza-cookie combo, is it like the chicken and the egg? Would DiGiorno make this product if people didn’t want it?  Probably not. But would people even want it if DiGiorno had never offered up the idea in the first place?  Hard to say, but I think it’s unlikely that people were shopping around saying, “You know, I sure wish I could buy my frozen pizza and cookies together in one box!”

A complete change in American lifestyle has to occur before this debate can be settled (which is a topic for another discussion). As long as things are status quo, people are still going to buy unhealthy food, which means the companies are going to keep making it, which means people are going to buy it, etc. 

What do YOU think?

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