Schwan’s Food Service, Inc., today announced its support of national efforts to increase the number of healthy choices in school cafeterias, feed more children through school meal programs, and update the meal pattern standards through the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act.

“We commend First Lady Michelle Obama’s commitment to end childhood obesity as well as the USDA’s efforts to improve childhood nutrition in schools across the country,” says Mark Jansen, president of Schwan’s Food Service. In support of these national nutrition objectives and in keeping with the company’s recognized focus on nutrition, Schwan’s Food Service has pledged to double the number of its already nutritionally enhanced school foodservice pizza products with whole grains by the fall of 2011, also reducing the sodium content of these products by up to 10 percent.

Over the past four years, Schwan’s Food Service has focused on increasing its offering of whole grain products. As a result, nearly a quarter of Schwan’s Food Service school pizza products currently contain whole grains, and one-third of these products have more than 51 percent whole grains. By the fall of 2011, the number of school pizza offerings with more than 51 percent whole grains will double.

In 2007, all subsidiaries of The Schwan Food Company proactively approved internal standards specific to sodium and fat. The company’s school foodservice products are leading the success with sodium reduction.

“We conduct a great deal of research with children and work diligently to balance taste and nutrition,” says Sue Holbert, R.D., L.D., and principal nutrition scientist for Schwan’s research and development. The company has committed to reducing the sodium content of its school pizza products by an additional 10 percent over the next 18 months in support of the recent Institute of Medicine School Meals Report.

In 2001, the company developed its successful Tony’s Smartpizza products for mainline school lunches, setting the nutritional benchmark for the category. This product uses protein in the crust, enabling the reduction of total fat and sodium while meeting Child Nutrition requirements. The company is in the process of further enhancing this product line, which is expected to establish new industry standards with its launch in the 2011-2012 school year.

Schwan’s Food Service has consistently utilized the USDA’s dietary guidelines in its formulation of school products to remain responsible and relevant. “Our goal is to make foods that kids love with the nutrition that they need,” Jansen says, “and for several years we’ve been a leader in responding to and anticipating nutritional concerns through our product innovation. We applaud all efforts to improve the health of our children, and we’re proud of the work that we are doing at Schwan’s Food Service in this area.”

Jansen says that the company hopes to have the opportunity to further support the work of Mrs. Obama, the USDA, and Congress in this important mission. “We look forward to sharing more good news as we continue our efforts in this area,” Jansen says.

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