The Alliance for a Healthier Generation (AHG), the coalition co-founded by the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association (AHA), has announced new multi-industry voluntary agreement that brings together leading food manufacturers, group purchasing organizations and technology companies to help America's schools serve healthier meals at more affordable prices.
Participants include 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. They have agreed to develop, market and competitively price products that will lead to healthier school meal options; streamline the ordering process; and make identifying healthy options easier.
“With students consuming up to half of their daily calories at school, healthy school meals are key to winning the fight against childhood obesity,” says Former President Bill Clinton. “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.”
The participating manufacturers pledge not to price healthy options out of reach of school cafeterias. Signatories will set prices for healthier items that meet the AHG's science-based standards for nutrition at prices no higher than less healthy comparable products. Participating manufacturers have also pledged to increase the sales of compliant products to least 50 percent of their entire school sales within five years.
Manufacturers have committed to aggressively promote products that align with the Alliance's Healthy Schools Program standards and will help schools meet or exceed the requirements currently being finalized by the USDA. Product commitments fall in at least one of the following categories within the Alliance's science-based guidelines for school foods:
Lean protein products, such as lean red meat, skinless poultry, lean deli meats, fat-free or low-fat cheese, beans, and tofu.
Low-fat lunch entrées with reduced total fat, saturated fat and sodium levels.
Whole-grain products, such as bread, pasta and pizza crust.
Fresh, canned or frozen fruit.
Zero trans fat cooking oils.
The USDA recently released its proposed rule for nutrition standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program. To help schools more easily navigate AHG and USDA standards, the AHG says it will update its guidelines to meet or exceed the final rule.
Parents, school administrators and food service directors can join AHG's Healthy Schools Program online at www.healthiergeneration.org  at no cost.
Members will get access to hundreds of resources, including a variety of free technical tools that enable anyone who makes purchasing decisions about school meals to implement and promote healthier options for students.