Thursday, June 10, 2010
Cincinnati-based Pierre Foods, Inc. today announced a new line of more nutritious menu options that will be making an impact in school cafeterias across the country this coming school year. Smart Picks TM will be officially unveiled at the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference next month. While other food manufacturers have committed to changing their products over the next two to five years, Smart Picks will be ready to serve in school cafeterias when school begins this August.
Pierre Foods’ new Smart Picks products will include a variety of items that have one or more of the following attributes: reduced sodium, a good source of protein, zero grams of trans fat, no hydrogenated oils, made with whole grains, a good source of fiber and reduced fat.
“For more than 30 years, Pierre Foods has been creating school menu options that contribute to a healthy lifestyle and Smart Picks is the latest step in that progression,” said Bill Toler, CEO of Pierre Foods. “In 1996, we developed our popular grilled teriyaki chicken dippers as an alternative to fried chicken nuggets. Today, Pierre continues to work closely with school foodservice directors, monitoring school menu needs to ensure that its meal offerings are nutritious, while maintaining high quality, taste and value.”
Pierre Foods’ Smart Picks line will offer schools more than 60 menu choices, including all-beef hamburger patties, which have 37 percent less sodium than current patties; grilled chicken patties, which contain less than 15 percent of the recommended daily allowance of sodium; and macaroni and cheese, which is made with whole grain pasta and is an excellent source of protein.
To create school menu items with the full flavor kids demand, and the protein and reduced sodium that parents value, Pierre Foods spent more than a year developing Smart Picks’ proprietary recipes. Nearly 2,000 students recently taste-tested products from Pierre’s Smart Picks line and liked these items as well as or better than similar Pierre school menu items.
The Smart Picks line will use quality USDA-inspected, fully-cooked meats and hearth-baked breads, all of which are quickly frozen to ensure the safety and flavor of each menu item.
“Pierre recognizes that childhood obesity is a serious issue and applauds First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to combat the problem,” said Toler. “As a company that serves 90 of the nation’s 100 largest school districts, we are constantly challenging ourselves to create new products for schools with reduced sodium and fat content, but that students will still choose and enjoy. We are delighted that our Smart Picks will provide more opportunities for children to eat ‘smarter’ school meals starting this fall.”
Pierre Foods is a nationally recognized industry leader in providing meat and sandwich products to a wide variety of distribution outlets including restaurants, grocery stores, vending machines, schools, the military, convenience stores and hospitals. Pierre Foods offers more than 1,000 different products, including more than 400 different types of full-size and mini sandwiches plus beef, pork, poultry, bakery items, pastas, fruit cups and peanut butter products. Headquartered in Cincinnati, OH, Pierre has manufacturing facilities in Cincinnati, Rome, GA, Claremont, NC, Amherst, OH and Easley, SC.