Reformulation of pizza crust in restaurants may increase whole-grain intake among children

Public Health Nutr. 2015 Jun;18(8):1407-11. doi: 10.1017/S1368980014001724. Epub 2014 Aug 26.


Objective: Whole-grain intake among children is well below recommendations. The purpose of the present study was to test the acceptability and liking of pizza made with whole-grain crust compared with refined-grain crust among children in restaurant and school settings.

Design: Plate waste data were collected via observation from child restaurant patrons consuming pizza made with either whole-grain or refined-grain crust. Waste was estimated by trained observers over eight months (August 2012-March 2013). Percentage waste was calculated and compared by crust type. A taste test was conducted with school children who tasted pizza made with whole-grain crust alongside pizza made with refined-grain crust and rated their liking of each product. Liking ratings were compared by crust type.

Setting: Five Green Mill restaurant (a Midwest US chain) locations and one elementary school in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area, Minnesota, USA.

Subjects: Child restaurant patrons (n 394) and school children (n 120, grades 3-5).

Results: Children consumed as much of the pizza made with whole-grain crust (42·1 %) as the pizza made with refined-grain crust (44·6 %; P=0·55), based on an average serving size of 350-400 g. Liking ratings for both types of pizza were high (>4·5 of 5) and did not differ by crust type (P=0·47).

Conclusions: These positive consumption and liking outcomes indicate that whole-grain pizza crust is well accepted among children in a restaurant setting. The impact on whole-grain intake could be substantial if large, national restaurant chains served pizza made with whole-grain crust.

Keywords: Whole-grain intake.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Food Services
  • Food Technology*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minnesota
  • Restaurants*
  • Schools
  • Taste
  • Whole Grains*