The Domino’s Effect

Pizza isn’t as cheap as you think it should be, mostly because the big four (Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Domino’s and Little Caesars) are essentially Wal-marting the world pizza market.

Another outspoken opponent of the circumstances underlying the worldwide pizza trade has been Philip McMichael, Ph.D., a professor of development sociology at Cornell University. He believes that the combined processes of bioindustrialization, the ever-increasing reliance of agro-industry on fossil fuels, and the relentless search for the most rapidly expanding overseas markets has led to a phenomenon he calls “the food regime.” The machinations that lie behind this new world order perform very well when it comes to churning out profits for transnational corporations, but that success comes at considerable social and economic expense, says McMichael. “It’s undermining people who make their living off the land everywhere.”

While I can understand acute hysteria and mass terror when it comes to melting icecaps, oil slicks the size of Arkansas, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with his finger on the trigger of a nuke, I haven’t quite gotten my arms around the pizza apocalypse. So I decided to start my investigation at the beginning of the pizza chain, at the place from which a Domino’s pie springs forth. I inch my rental car through a dismal-looking industrial park outside Detroit and pull up in front of a low-slung, nondescript building that houses one of Domino’s 17 U.S. dough factories.

If anything makes you appreciate an artisanal pizza and spending just a little bit more money to get a quality pie, it would be Frederick Kaufman’s investigation of cheap, mass-produced pizzas.

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