School District “Doubles As A Giant Pizza Hut”

Childhood obesity epidemic? What? ” As the nation’s only school district now licensed to make pizza under the Pizza Hut name, Corona-Norco gets all the supplies from Pizza Hut: frozen dough, sauce, cheese, pepperoni — even the oil squirted onto the dough.

Corona-Norco struck the agreement in 1995, soon after fast-food chains began making their way into U.S. schools. The district had a similar agreement with Taco Bell, but that ended about eight years ago when the chain stopped allowing schools to make its food. “

The school district’s 45 schools make and consume over 1,000 Pizza Hut pizzas a day, more than a week’s output for some single stores. Many of the district’s chefs remember when they used to ” cook from scratch and bake fresh rolls and cookies. Today, they keep up a lighthearted chatter as they spread sauce and shake cheese on dough.” —MEGHANN MARCO

District doubles as giant Pizza Hut [PR]

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  1. mfergel says:

    I know my daughters school has their pizza supplied by Little Caeser’s so I don’t really find this all that surprising.

  2. RumorsDaily says:

    I know we’re supposed to be angry about this, but that sounds delicious.

    Do they only offer pizza?

  3. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Ugh, I HATE Pizza Hut pizza. I don’t consider it “real” pizza. I have read that pizza is actually somewhat healthy, with protien in the cheese, benifits from the sauce, etc. A well rounded food item. Except when it is Pizza Hut. Yech.

  4. Sheik says:

    I haven’t had Pizza Hut in at least 10 years and don’t miss it one bit. It really is too bad that the cafeterias have stopped cooking for kids. I would have enjoyed school much more if I had a decent lunch to look forward to. The pizza made at the schools I went to actually made Pizza Hut seems some what appetizing.

  5. Sorenso says:

    I can’t remember ever having Pizza Hut myself. I would consider going for pizza there like going for Mexican food at Taco Bell. Oh wait, are they owned by the same people?

    Back on topic, it’s cool they make the Pizza there, but come on, 1,000 a day? Lets get something a little more healthy in there. Or at least some pizza with whole grain dough for some substance.

  6. I’d kill to have gone to a school like that. I think I’d be fine too. Pizza hut alone doesn’t make kids fat. Its the combination of Pizza hut, no exercise, and nothing else to eat that makes the kids fat (read that as bad parenting). I’d love to eat pizza hut every day of the week. All this talk of pizza hut makes me want to eat there…I need to find one near the office.

  7. offtowar says:

    Well… although I certainly hope that this trend discountinues itself by the time I become a parent, I have a feeling it won’t. So I should probably start figuring out quick, healthy meals I can pack for my kids to send them to school with in the mornings. I definately saw similar calibur meals when I was in high school (yes, that entire 1 year ago!), and I was lucky that my stepfather took it upon himself to pack my lunch (which in all honesty WAS a bit embarrasing at that age). It certainly was healthy though. I guess that if parents want healthy food and non-corporate control over their children’s diets… gotta DIY it. Or stop paying your taxes or something. Money talks.

  8. bambino says:

    “gotta DIY it”.
    Redundant much?

    But seriously, you people see no problem with your kids eating pizza hut every day at school?

  9. Pelagius says:

    “Many of the district’s chefs remember when they used to ” cook from scratch and bake fresh rolls and cookies. “

    What magical happy school district was that? I grew up in the 70s and 80s, and in our fairly well-off public school we had sloppy joe’s, tacos, hamburgers, and pizza made from frozen, prepackaged ingredients. The pizza was particularly horrendous, with a crust like a saltine cracker. I would have taken Pizza Hut over that. I always assumed that the inappetizing cafeteria options were a ploy to keep us brown-bagging.

  10. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Something to keep in mind…these schools, most likely, offer more healthy alternatives to Pizza Hut pizza. Perhaps a salad, or even just pasta.

    So while you can say the students are eating Pizza Hut every day, that is because they choose to. If this is the case, the parents need to educate their kids on nutrition, and that they should only have it once or twice a week.

    If there are NO healthy alternatives to Pizza Hut, then there is BIG problem.

  11. Fuzzy_duffel_bag says:

    Even if you give the kids a choice, how many kids are going to choose healthy over pizza hut? Unless parents go in and look over their shoulders while in the lunch line. Educate all you want, but if their friend gets pizza every day, they’ll all want pizza every day.

    This is without even addressing how frightening I find it that corporate entities are invading schools. But Fast Food Nation did a better job with that than I would.

  12. dead9uy says:

    There’s a pretty strong movement towards healthier options for students that I’ve been witnessing. I have a daughter in 1st grade and they cook everything there from scratch. The dough is always whole wheat and the students must choose items from each food group. This is Portland though which has a tendency to be ahead of the curve on a lot of these things.

  13. Inee says:

    Perhaps everyone here should look at the nutritional facts, and with a basic understanding you’ll know that IN MODERATION Pizza Hut (or pizza in general) is not bad for you. The issue is now, and will likely forever remain, portion control.

    Perhaps we should turn our glares at the parents who allow [at some level] their children to balloon up to 180 pounds in grade 5. Perhaps we should point our fingers at the parents not educating their children on the simplest of facts. When I was 12, I knew 3 or 4 servings of ANYTHING was bad. In this particular case, it’s not “Oh god Big Bidness is making our children FAT we must stop them NOW RAR!”, it’s “Well, that’s an interesting move on Pizza Huts behalf, and from a business standpoint, brilliant.”

  14. MeOhMy says:

    The pizza when I went to school was like Elio’s only worse. If it was Pizza Hut pizza, I may have got it once in awhile. Most of the food was pretty awful. My father brown-bagged lunch to work just about every day, so he was happy to throw another sandwich in a bag for me.

    I’m not sure why this would be embarassing – it’s not like the other kids magically knew that my dad was packing my lunch and not me (although I did get occasional wisecracks for apparently surviving on a strict ration consisting of a single sandwich (some kind of lunchmeat and cheese or PB&J), a handful of chips, a Tastykake and a juice box, day-in and day-out for as long as anyone could remember).

    The sad irony now is that now if I could get a crappy no-frills frozen pizza with a helping of peas, a cup of jello and milk for $1.85 or whatever a school lunch goes for these days, I’d probably buy two and save one for dinner!

  15. Polymath says:

    Nothing new. My high school used to serve Taco Bell burritos for lunch once a month. That was 12 years ago.

  16. arkisman says:

    I survived the onslaught of Pizza Hut and Taco Bell when I was in middle school and high school. I probably would have become a fat ass if the line for Pizza Hut or Taco Bell wasn’t 40 minutes long (lunch for us was 45 minutes).

  17. mrbenning says:

    Pizza Hut /does/ sound better than the “chicken rings” and “fiestadas” I ate in high school.

    Every teenager’s diet is crappy, so I don’t see cafeteria food as a major problem. The real problem is making sure kids don’t eat the same crap at home. Don’t order pizza or fast food every night you don’t feel like cooking. Get your kids involved in extracurriculars so they’re not sitting in front of the xbox every night. Their waist lines and functioning hearts will be all the thanks you’ll need.

    Yeah, corporate invasion of high schools sucks, but your kids’ll grow out of the eating fried pizza and cookies for lunch every day phase.

  18. Sheik says:

    Mrbenning: “your kids’ll grow out of the eating fried pizza and cookies for lunch every day phase”

    I’m not so sure that is true as a whole. Most people probably do wise up. But for many I’m sure that the eating habits that they had when they were in school carry over into their adult life. America is becoming the fattest country in the world, if it isn’t already.

  19. etinterrapax says:

    Pizza Hut would have been an improvement on the crap we had in our school cafeteria. It largely consisted of frozen pizzas and french fries, and possibly canned vegetables if it was the mayor’s birthday. ITA that the meals at home are incredibly important. After all, they are 2/3 of the equation. More than 3/4 if you count weekends. I strongly suspect that the death of family meals and cooking are a bigger part of the obesity epidemic. But there are so many problems connected to those that I personally don’t even know where to start. Almost all of those issues are bigger than this one, though.

  20. micturatedupon says:

    ahhh, life in the 909/951.

    having previously worked in norco(and lived 15 minutes away), this does not surprise me in the least.

  21. vanilla-fro says:

    As far as pizza hut pizza everyday making you fat…I worked at pizza hut as a delivery driver for a year. I ate my free personal pan pizza every shift and took home a large pizza for my days off. Between the activity (there was a little) of the deliveries and the fact that I didn’t just sit around all day while not at work, I didn’t gain an ounce.
    The kids are getting fat because they don’t do anything but sit around. sure some of them may have the genetics or a gland problem to be obese, but most don’t. they need to be run like a dog or a horse.

  22. We had Taco Bell and Blimpie’s Subs shipped in to my school, and that was in ’93.

    We had ‘open campus’ so we ended up eating at Village Inn, Quizno’s, or one of the local restaurants instead.

  23. synergy says:

    I remember seeing on the finale of “Biggest Loser” that the trainer people were at a high school to see the eating and exercise habits of schools. When they talked to the cafeteria staff about what they were offering for lunch and how everything was fried and pre-packaged, they said they don’t offer anything healthy because it would just get thrown away. No one would choose it. From what I could see, this was a well-off school in a middle to upper middle class area.

    In my case I went to a poor neighborhood school and I ate both breakfast and lunch at school for free or a reduced price. At least my mother provided dinner at home, but I know school meals were the only thing a lot of the kids ate all day. Assuming that the kids can be fed cheap junk food because they will eat something healthy outside of school is an interesting idea, but not always true.

  24. raindog says:

    Heh, I was just thinking, “How can they get away with giving kids something like Pizza Hut pizza in school?” Then I remembered my own high school’s pizza.

    No matter what flavor it was supposed to be, our pizza was exactly the same: 7-inch-wide hexagonal “slices”, covered with yellow cheese and one of three kinds of meat that differed only slightly in appearance, not at all in flavor. (Grey crumbles: sausage; brown crumbles: taco meat; diced red things: pepperoni.) The crust was so oily that it was floppy, even though there were holes on the underside like Jeno’s/Totino’s ostensibly to make it crispy.

    And when you folded it in half to eat it, there would be a constant stream of bright orange grease coming out the other end. If you weren’t eating it over your tray, you faced an afternoon of humiliation.

    Incidentally: Totally DELICIOUS to my high-school taste buds.

    Yep, maybe Pizza Hut ain’t so bad. And maybe they should bring back the Taco Smell because it would be an improvement…. at least the kids would get lettuce and tomatoes.

  25. dantsea says:

    Raindog, I think your post finally gave me the information I needed to solve a puzzling junior high memory. Our school had those pizzas, yet they were always called Taco Pizzas (and like 13 year old boys everywhere, we LOVED Taco Pizza Friday) and no one could figure out the name. Never dawned on me that it might have been a hint to fold the thing in half.

    I can vaguely remember in first and second grade the cafeteria served actual cooked (as opposed to fried/reheated) meals. Looking back on it, that effort seems to have ended around the time a certain former president’s appointees had ketchup reclassified as a vegetable.

  26. raindog says:

    Yeah, they only called ours “taco pizzas” when they had something that was ostensibly “taco meat” on them, but we took the hint. They were pretty tough to cut for being so flexible, so folding was really the best option.

    And yeah, the switch from food that the school chefs actually made from scratch to food that came out of a freezer did happen during the Reagan administration. The “taco pizza” was frankly an improvement over the huge slabs of bread they called pizza previously. But their pasta bar stayed the same (fresh-baked rolls, sticky rigatoni, something that I think was supposed to be Caesar’s salad, and meat sauce with way too much white pepper which has caused me to continue to use white pepper in my own ragu) and for that I was grateful.