Forty-one million Americans eat a slice of pizza on any given day. “If pizza were a country, its sales would put it in the top 100 of global gross domestic product,” writes Bloomberg‘s Andrew Martin in an article on the most delicious lobbying group around: the pizza lobby.
The pizza lobby is more powerful than any of us realize. While Big Pizza hasn’t thrown all that much money around, explains Martin, they’ve separated themselves from other food groups in Washington to become their own lobbying force.
“Pizza’s biggest spenders devoted less than $500,000 to lobbying last year and just $1.5 million in political contributions in the last two elections,” according to Bloomberg. Yet, they have been successful in persuading and fighting Congress.
It should be noted that $1.3 million of that $1.5 million in political contributions went to Republicans, and the biggest beneficiary was 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
In the 2012 and 2014 elections, 98.9% of Pizza Hut’s political contributions went to Republicans. (Pie chart: Bloomberg)
Pizza companies have banned together and formed the American Pizza Community—or the APC, as it calls itself—to fight for pizza. Lynn Liddle, executive vice president for communications, investor relations, and legislative affairs at Domino’s Pizza, is the chair of the APC. (Makes sense.)
A few years back, the all-powerful pizza lobby scored a victory over Congress in regards to menu-labeling laws. The debacle began in 2010, when a national menu-labeling law passed calling for chain restaurants to put calorie information front-and-center on their menus. But when the FDA’s draft regulations came out one year later, pizza makers were not pleased. The APC said they didn’t like the specifics of the regulations, and Liddle told Bloomberg that “given the potential combinations of pizza toppings, posting accurate calorie information would be ‘near impossible.'”
The FDA’s proposed regulations also required pizzerias to post calories for a whole pie, rather than a single slice. Marla Topliff, president of Rosati’s Pizza in Chicago, told Bloomberg, “It is sticker shock. When somebody looks at nutritionals on a large pizza and they see 10,000 calories, they may be reluctant to buy it.” This concern makes sense, since not many people sit down to eat a whole pie anyway.
Bloomberg explains what the APC did to fight back against the proposed regulations:
Ultimately, the FDA eased up on the regulations. Pizza owners can now post calorie information by the slice. The FDA also says only standard menu items need to be labeled, not every possible combination. But the APC isn’t happy with what it calls “small concessions.” Liddel will continue to fight, and tells Bloomberg, “The APC will now enlist the help of allies to right this wrong.”
Our thoughts: Maybe Miley Cyrus’ pornographic pizza obsession is inspired by monetary contributions from the pizza lobby? Perhaps the APC is behind the #pizzaboyz movement? Anything is possible, since the Food Illuminati (and apparently the Pizza Illuminati) is real.
Read the entire Bloomberg report to find out more ways the pizza lobby is fighting for your right to eat pizza.