Pizza goes low carb

February 2, 2004 in Food Companies, Manufacturing and Trends

Pizza goes low carb

It seems that no carbohydrate rich food is safe from the low-carb trend. Pizza makers are starting to wonder if the low-carb craze will force changes in one of our best-loved foods.

“Hey, we've got a problem here. Pizza's built on bread. It's the No. 1 enemy of the Atkinites,” said Tom Boyles, senior editor of PMQ Magazine, a publication that follows the pizza industry. Boyles has a word for those who want to avoid carbohydrates: “carbavoids.”

Although industry sales haven't taken a hit yet, some pizza operators are considering offering customers low-carb pizzas. Boyles continues, ‘Pizza operators are asking themselves, “Do I want to do this?” and they're bouncing the idea back and forth,’ and wondering how far this is going to go.

Low-carb diets like Atkins, South Beach and Zone continue to gain wide popularity. A Harris Interactive poll done last summer for Novartis Consumer Health Inc. estimated that 32 million Americans were on some kind of high-protein, low-carb diet.

Tom Lehmann, of the American Institute of Baking in Manhattan, Kansas, a consultant who works with bakeries and pizza operations worldwide, said “Low-carb is probably the biggest pebble to be dropped in this little pizza pond for a long time. There's just a huge, huge amount of interest.”

Lehmann, who writes in industry publications as “The Dough Doctor,” said he has received an average of five requests per day for the past three months on how to make low-carb dough. He said his own experiments so far with making a low-carb dough had turned out a product that tasted, well, different. “If you consider a pizza crust as being an edible breadlike product that's located beneath the toppings, the cheese and tomato sauce, OK, that's all we can say about it. Wipe away any memories of your old traditional pizza crust,” he said.

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