The alliance – founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation – announced the voluntary agreement on Friday, bringing together leading food manufacturers, group purchasing organizations and technology companies to increase availability and pricing of healthier foods and beverages for school meals and to make it easier to identify healthier options, it said.
Signatories to the pledge have vowed to set prices for healthier options no higher than comparable less healthy alternatives, and to develop and market foods that fit with the alliance’s nutrition criteria. The alliance added that it intends to update its science-based nutrition standards to be in line with US Department of Agriculture standards for school nutrition that are currently being updated.
The food manufacturer commitments fall into several categories, including lean protein products; low-fat lunch entrees with reduced total fat, saturated fat and sodium levels; whole grain products, such as bread, pasta and pizza crust; fresh, canned or frozen fruit; non-fried vegetables; and zero trans fat cooking oils. Participating manufacturers have also vowed to increase the sales of compliant products to at least 50 percent of school sales within five years.
President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation said: "With students consuming up to half of their daily calories at school, healthy school meals are key to winning the fight against childhood obesity. Building on our agreements that have reduced the number of calories in beverages shipped to schools by 88 percent, the alliance is now focusing on helping provide more nutritious meal options to more than 30 million school children nationwide."
Food manufacturers taking part in the project are AdvancePierre Foods, Domino's Pizza, JTM Food Group, McCain Foods USA, Rich Products Corporation, Schwan's Food Service, Trident Seafoods, HPS, Premier healthcare alliance, Summa/Provista, Interflex, Dole Food Company, Inc., and the National Turkey Federation.