School meals will take on a decidedly whole grain flavor when the US Department of Agriculture’s new nutrition standards for K-12 take effect. Marking the first major change in more than 15 years, the new rules call for more — lots more! — whole grains, effective two years after implementation.

“All categories from dinner rolls to pizza crusts offer great potential for whole grain formulation,” said Jessica Wellnitz, bakery applications product development leader, Cargill, Wayzata, MN. Further, she observed that not only will bakers need to formulate cost-effective items that support good health, but the foods also must meet kids’ demands for great taste.

Recently, Cargill partnered with the Osseo School District in the northwestern suburbs of Minneapolis, MN, to formulate rolls with 51% whole wheat among the grain ingredients by using Horizon Milling’s WheatSelect white spring whole wheat flour. Fat content was cut in half and sodium reduced by 10%, compared with the district’s traditional rolls.

“The true test was working with the district on ensuring that the kids loved the new product,” Ms. Wellnitz said. “Today, the children in that district are happily consuming 22% more of these healthier, whole grain-rich rolls.”