Americans love pizza! Along with the beloved hamburger, it’s one of the things they consume most often.
And no one knows pizza like Rich’s. Since bringing proof-and-bake sheeted dough into restaurant kitchens roughly two decades ago, the company has been expanding its variety of authentic, quality pizza products – like dough balls, freezer-to-oven doughs, par-baked crusts, and healthy alternatives like wheat and whole grain dough – that can turn any operation into a gourmet pizzeria. Rich’s extensive handling experience and training expertise helps customers roll out everything from pizzas to strombolis, calzones and dozens of specialty items to satisfy consumer and regional tastes.
Until recently, a fun night at the pizza parlor usually was out of the question for the approximately 3 million Americans who suffer from celiac disease – a severe autoimmune disorder often connected to consumption of wheat, rye and barley. For this large, underserved group, the key to an enjoyable dining-out experience of any kind has been the availability of gluten-free foods.
“Because gluten-free products haven’t been widely available, most celiac sufferers have been forced to eat at home,” said Pellerite. “We spent years researching consumer needs, and we learned that those with celiac disease felt they were missing out on quality restaurant experiences with family or friends. Because of their strict dietary requirements, they simply did not have many dining-out options.”
As a result, Rich’s launched its first gluten-free, par-baked pizza crust in 2009 as a great-tasting, consistent and safe alternative to traditional pizza crusts. It is certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, a program of the national Gluten Intolerance Group™. Rich’s Eagan, Minn., plant, where the dough is made, is a dedicated, gluten-free production facility. Rich’s is a member of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Gluten-Free Resource Education and Awareness Training (GREAT) Business Association.
Made with authentic pizzeria quality, the individual, gluten-free pizza crusts are available in handy, oven-safe, aluminum tins that minimize the chance of cross-contamination. In sensory test panels, they were rated better tasting than many of the gluten-free crusts available, because they’re lighter, airier, and have a cleaner taste profile.
“We’re thrilled to provide a product that not only meets this sizeable consumer dietary need, but also presents an exceptional incremental growth opportunity for foodservice operators,” Pellerite said. “By carrying a popular product like pizza that is certified gluten-free, operators are able to offer an outstanding menu choice to this large, potentially untapped group of patrons.”