Since 1980, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) every five years have jointly published the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines dictate the nutritional requirements for the USDA’s National School Lunch Program, which serves more than 32 million children across the country each school day.
In April 2012, the USDA tightened some of the lunch program mandates, which affected, among other things, the maximum serving sizes for items such as bread and the definition of “whole grain-rich” products. That left cafeteria operators scrambling, giving many of them less than four months to adjust their lunchroom menus before school bells would ring in the 2012-13 academic year.
Long before then, however, Rich Products Corporation had put the wheels in motion to deliver a customer solution that would set a turnaround record for a school project. The company marshaled forces from across its foodservice and nutrition teams, including Dr. Shirley Brown, Rich’s Director of Product Training and a 38-year veteran of the organization; Marketing Manager Loraine Grimm, part of the pizza team for Rich’s Foodservice Division; Jennifer Besing, Foodservice Marketing Manager for the K-12 segment; the Foodservice sales team; Research and Development; and associates from Rich’s largest frozen dough plant, in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Brown, appointed in spring 2012 to a USDA advisory team on school nutrition, jokes that baking is in her blood. Both her grandmother and mother were bakers in her elementary school’s foodservice program.
“Shirley is our ‘ears to the ground,’ keeping everyone at Rich’s abreast of legislation governing whole grains,” said Grimm. “When we realized that changes were coming to the school lunch program guidelines, we knew there would be a burgeoning customer demand for a product that not only meets the new government requirements, but also earns the children’s seal of approval.”
Tracking trends and staying ahead of the curve is just one of the ways that Rich’s cares for its customers like only a family can. To help rescue school cafeteria operators racing to meet the demands of the new USDA guidelines, Rich’s launched one of the industry’s very first 14-inch, 51-percent whole grain, proof-and-bake, sheeted pizza doughs. The creatively conceived dough product satisfies both the existing operational need of eight slices per pizza pie and a new dietary limit of no more than two bread servings per pizza slice.
Rich’s 51-percent whole grain pizza dough allows operators to make fresh-baked pizza from high-quality dough, without the challenges of stretching pizza dough balls. Made with white whole-wheat flour – the nutritional equivalent of conventional whole wheat – Rich’s whole grain sheeted pizza dough comes untopped, making it an ideal base for toppings of all flavors and guaranteeing a perfect crust and delicious flavor that will satisfy even the ficklest of pint-sized school diners.
Introduced in July 2012 at the annual conference of the School Nutrition Association, Rich’s 14-inch, 51-percent whole grain pizza dough is the product of dedicated investment and a commitment to innovation and delivering viable solutions for customers. The new dough packs a nutritional punch while satisfying the appetites of schoolchildren across America.