18 Sep 2016

How Pizza Companies Can Make Us Healthier

Pizzas are unhealthy. What can we do about it? How can we nudge most pizza buyers into choosing a healthier pizza, while still preserving choice for those who want it?

Use the power of defaults. The default base should be a whole wheat one, not one with maida, which both causes diabetes and makes it worse. If the customer opts for a maida base, charge extra. Don't offer the choice proactively, like, "Would you like a wheat base or a maida base?" Just use the wheat base unless the customer says otherwise.

Don't include any cheese with the pizza. If the customer wants it, charge extra.

And if the customer wants double cheese, charge more than twice. That is, if one helping of cheese is priced at ₹100, double cheese should cost the customer say, ₹300, not ₹200. That will discourage people from going from double cheese.

All vegetable toppings should be free. Unhealthy toppings like paneer should cost extra.

This makes the healthy pizza the cheapest.

Further, make less or no profit on it, instead making all the profit on the unhealthy extras. That will further drive down the price of healthy pizzas (encouraging more people to buy them), and drive up the price of the unhealthy pizzas (discouraging people from buying them).

Having the cheapest pizza be really cheap will also attract a lot of customers to this brand of pizza instead of its competitors. Imagine ads saying, "Treat yourself to a sumptuous and healthy pizza for just ₹49".

Then, run ads showing how much healthier this brand of pizza is compared to its competitors, and how cheap the healthy pizza is. Compare the cheapest pizza of this brand with the cheapest pizza of other brands. Remind people of the health consequences of unhealthy pizza. Ask them if they want to get obesity, heart disease or diabetes. Run the ads far and wide, so that every pizza buyer in the country thinks about what he's eating, and what he could be eating instead.

If there's an offer, it should apply only on healthy pizzas. That is, if there's a buy-one-get-one-free offer, it should require both pizzas to be healthy. If the customer opts for a maida base or adds cheese or paneer, the offer shouldn't apply.

Never discount the unhealthy toppings. If there's a discount, it should apply only to the healthy pizzas. If the customer adds even one unhealthy extra, the discount shouldn't apply. If this discount feels stingy, increase the percentage. That is, rather than offering a 20% discount on everything, offer a 40% discount on healthy pizzas.

All this requires the management to be motivated by more than money. They shouldn't be the typical irresponsible, greedy, manipulative businesspeople who make money while hurting their customers' health and long-term well-being. To do better, an enlightened management is required, one that feels a sense of responsibility to society and to its customers, rather than just filling their pockets.

On the other hand, adopting the approach suggested in this post also makes a company unique and stand out amongst the sea of generic pizza companies that are more or less the same. It's hard to succeed in business if you're not differentiated from your competitors. Making it healthy will be a big differentiator.

Let's have healthy pizza companies. Let's make progress towards a healthier future for us all.


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