Kona Ice announced that it is introducing a new line of FruitFirst flavors. The sweet treat is USDA Smart Snack Approved and far exceeds the new USDA “All Foods Sold in Schools” guidelines that were implemented on July 1.
For two years, since the inception of the USDA’s Smart Snack initiative, Kona Ice has been leading flavor innovation efforts to stay ahead of the federal government’s requirements for school nutrition. These standards are for all foods and beverages sold to students during the school day in vending machines, school stores, snack carts, and a la carte lines, as well as through fundraising.
“The name says it all,” says Tony Lamb, president and founder of Florence-based Kona Ice. "This is something we have been looking forward to for months now. Developing our own proprietary FruitFirst flavors has been a fundamental aspect of Kona Ice. But, to be able to create a product that is both delicious and healthier for kids is a huge accomplishment. We are beyond thrilled to introduce FruitFirst to our franchisees and their communities.”
This feat comes as both a tasty and timely accomplishment for the neighborhood schools that Kona Ice supports through fundraising. In less than a decade, Kona Ice has raised more than $15 million for schools. As planning for the 2016-2017 school year is well underway with summer here, denying schools this much needed funding in the months ahead, and beyond could have been felt nationwide. There are nearly 700 Kona Ice mobile shaved ice trucks on the road and their giveback is essential to schools and their programming.
Packed with bountiful flavor and nourishing ingredients, FruitFirst provides students with a snack that meets all nutrient standards. It features a fruit base, fortified with Vitamins C and D as well as potassium, and is sweetened with all-natural Stevia. Containing no high-fructose corn syrup or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the treat is gluten free, fat free, dairy free, and allergen free. Just as appealing as the taste, FruitFirst has 88 percent less sodium and 70 percent less sugar than a regular snow cone. With only 24 calories per serving, there is no other product on the market like it.
“There is nothing out there like it,” Lamb adds. “At Kona Ice, we are constantly looking to move the needle and tap into new arenas, keeping our customers needs in mind. In creating FruitFirst, we are able to provide our young fans with a treat they can feel good about consuming while continuing our ability to give back to schools. The debut of FruitFirst is just the beginning.”
Ranked number one in the “Frozen Desserts” category and 77th overall in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2016 “Franchise 500” list, Kona Ice offers communities throughout North America cool, sweet treats while providing local organizations, like schools, churches, youth sports leagues, and many more a unique fundraising opportunity. Kona Ice franchisees establish strong partnerships with the community to help organizations fundraise for after school activities, uniforms, textbooks, field trips, and more.