Schwan's ahead of pizza sodium reduction goal

by Eric Schroeder
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MARSHALL, MINN. — Schwan’s Food Service, Inc. (S.F.S.I.), the largest supplier of pizza to the National School Lunch Program, is ahead of its goal to reformulate its school pizza. Earlier this year, S.F.S.I. committed to reducing the sodium in its school pizzas by 10% by the fall of 2011, but the company now says its Big Daddy’s brand pizza will have a 15% to 25% reduction in sodium by this fall.

Big Daddy’s, which represents approximately one-third of Schwan’s school pizza business, was first introduced in 2005 and has become a well-known brand for middle and high school students, according to S.F.S.I. The brand offers harvest crust varieties, which combine enriched and whole grain flours to meet the demand for increased whole grains in schools.

“For more than a year, we’ve researched sodium reduction for Big Daddy’s pizza,” said Sean Trygestad, pizza category marketing manager. “Our primary goal, in addition to reducing sodium, has been to retain and enhance the taste quality, ensuring that students would continue to enjoy the pizza.”

S.F.S.I. said it held taste tests with students throughout the process to confirm that the reduced sodium products performed as well as the original recipes. Final results were achieved through a reduction of salt as well as the use of sea salt.

Since 2007, all subsidiaries of The Schwan Food Co. have implemented internal guidelines specific to sodium and fat, anticipating the ongoing evolution of nutrition science and the Dietary Guidelines.

With the reduction in sodium in the Big Daddy’s products, S.F.S.I. said it is well on its way to meeting the Institute of Medicine’s recent recommendation to reduce sodium over the next 10 years in the school meal program.

“This is an exciting first step in shifting our portfolio regarding sodium content, and increasing our better-for-you options for schools across the country,” said Michael Wiser, senior marketing director for S.F.S.I.
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