RYE BROOK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 04/26/12 -- In January 2012, Chartwells School Dining Services added flare to school dining menus with the introduction of a new white whole wheat crust pizza. They worked with manufacturers to produce a new and innovative product made with white whole wheat flour, olive oil and flax seed. Chartwells prides itself on offering unique and innovative menu items, and this new pizza pleases the palettes of their student customers. The pizza, which is proprietary to Chartwells, is a highly nutritious, top quality and easy to use product that has given students more reasons to keep coming back to the school dining centers.
Feedback on the pizza product has been overwhelmingly positive at New England area Chartwells schools. At a recent sampling event at Leominster High School (MA), the new Chartwells pizza product received an overall acceptability grade of 91%. A recent student poll in Randolph Public Schools (MA) revealed that the pizza would be recommended to other students and should be offered regularly in the dining center. Similar tastings were conducted in other Chartwells schools with equally favorable results.
"After introducing the white whole wheat crust earlier this school year, the students have regularly told us how much they enjoy the taste and texture of the pizza," said Jack Jones, SNS, FMP, Director of Dining Services for Randolph Public Schools.
The crust contains very unique ingredients such as flax seed, a source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids as well as olive oil, which is the foundation of the Mediterranean diet and the healthiest fat source according to many experts. The USDA requires foods that contain zero trans-fats per serving, which has been met with the use of olive oil and flax seed. The pizza is also leavened with natural yeast and without the use of chemicals, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or colors.
"Chartwells always looks to be proactive with nutrition when we develop a new product," said Kim Salahie, Chartwells Director of Culinary Development. "Our new crust allowed us to deliver increased benefits such as lower sodium, more whole grains and healthy fats like flax seed and olive oil."
As a USDA National Strategic Partner, Chartwells consistently meets or exceeds many of the new requirements for school meals and this product is no exception. For example, the new regulations require that half of grains offered at lunch be whole grain similar to the MyPlate guidance. The new crust is made with 51% white whole wheat and qualifies as a whole grain food, providing an innovative way to serve whole grain foods that students enjoy eating. Additionally, the new standards require schools to significantly lower sodium in menus, which is also echoed in the MyPlate guidance. Chartwells' new pizza crust is 25% lower in sodium than traditional crust, but still tastes great, which has been important for student acceptance.
In Weston Schools (CT), Chartwells introduced the new pizza earlier this year via Food Advisory meetings and sampling events at the middle and high schools -- which was very well-received. Foodservice employees have reported an ease in production, with only minor work needed to shape the dough for students who prefer a thinner, crispier crust. This process also gives the pizza more of a hand-tossed look, which students seem to favor.
"For Chartwells, creating this healthier white whole wheat crust was only the next natural step in building upon our commitment to student customer satisfaction and to providing healthier options in our dining centers," said Glenn Brunetti, Chartwells Northeast Regional Executive Chef.
About Chartwells School Dining Services
Chartwells, a division of Charlotte, NC-based Compass Group provides dining services for over 550 public school districts and private schools, comprising over 6,000 separate elementary, middle and high schools nationwide. For more information about Chartwells School Dining Services, visit www.eatlearnlive.com.
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