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Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Tyson Foods Team Up to Improve Nutrition of School Meals for Millions of American Students

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Tyson Foods Team Up to Improve Nutrition of School Meals for Millions of American Students

07:00 EDT Thursday, April 04, 2013

BROOKLYN, N.Y., April 4, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN), one of the nation's leading suppliers of meat and poultry to schools, is teaming up with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation in the fight against childhood obesity.

Tyson and the Alliance will work together to continue increasing the availability and affordability of more nutritious food products to help schools comply with federal nutrition standards and serve healthier meals to millions of students in the United States.

The announcement was made at a Brooklyn, New York high school where Tyson Foods has funded improvements in the school's student wellness room.

By working with the Alliance, Tyson Foods joins other leading school meal manufacturers pledging to set prices for healthier items – which meet the Alliance's science-based standards for nutrition – at a cost no more than 10 percent higher than traditional, comparable products. This makes compliance with federal and voluntary nutrition guidelines financially easier. Similar to the other participating manufacturers, Tyson has also committed to increase sales of its compliant products to at least 50 percent of the company's entire school sales within five years.

Manufacturers also have committed to aggressively promote products that align with the Alliance's Healthy Schools Program nutrition standards and equip their sales force with the knowledge and resources to educate food service professionals about their collaboration with the Alliance.

"Our children consume up to one third of their calories while at school," said President Bill Clinton, founder of the Clinton Foundation. "I applaud Tyson Foods, as one of our country's largest suppliers of school food products, for seizing an opportunity to improve the nutrition and well-being of more than 30 million school children nationwide."

"We respect the work of the Alliance and are proud to be a partner in the effort to reduce childhood obesity," said Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. "As a supplier to the National School Lunch Program, we have extensive experience creating foods that not only contribute to a healthy lifestyle but also appeal to some of the most demanding consumers around – kids."

The collaboration between Tyson and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation builds on the two-year old ground-breaking school meals industry agreement the Alliance, founded by the American Heart Association and Clinton Foundation, has in place with 16 leading school meal manufacturers, group purchasing organizations, and technology companies. The new commitment from Tyson comes just in time as school food service professionals around the country will begin contracting processes for the coming year.

"School food manufacturers are integral to providing our children with healthier meals," said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO, Alliance for a Healthier Generation. "When companies like Tyson Foods guarantee that their prepared foods meet substantive nutrition standards and are easily accessible to food service directors, they ensure that all schools, even those that might lack scratch cooking facilities, can serve healthy breakfasts and lunches to their students."

Product commitments, such as Tyson's, 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

Tyson employs a nutrition team that includes registered dietitians and has a Kid Tested, Kid Approved™ program to develop student-endorsed foods school foodservice operators can feel confident serving.

"We work closely with school foodservice operators to produce healthy, nutritious food options," said Michael Turley, vice president and general manager of Tyson Foods' government sales business. "Almost all of our current school lunch offerings, which include whole grain and grilled items, meet the new government standards for calories and lower sodium. We also meet many of the Alliance's nutrition standards."

In 2012, Tyson Foods introduced new school lunch items like unbreaded, whole muscle chicken pieces. The company completed the removal of trans fat from its school foodservice products in 2005 and over the past five years has achieved sodium reductions across a range of foods, including those destined for schools.

As part of today's announcement, Tyson Foods revealed the first recipient of an annual award from the company to a school striving to improve its health and nutrition programs. Tyson selected the Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, part of the New York City School District and a member of the Alliance's Healthy Schools Program, for its efforts to strengthen its nutrition and physical activity programs. The company has helped fund the purchase of new equipment for the school's wellness room, including air hockey and ping pong tables, stationary cycles, two televisions for exercise gaming systems, X-box 360 fitness bundle, and a variety of other equipment designed to keep the students moving. In addition, Tyson employees from the company's New Holland, Pennsylvania plant also helped with installing equipment. 

Fighting Childhood Obesity

The effort to increase the availability of healthier school meals follows the success of similar industry agreements brokered by the Alliance. Voluntary agreements with the snack food and beverage industries initiated in 2006 have resulted in making healthier choices available to students in schools across the country—including a 90 percent decrease in total beverage calories shipped to schools between 2004 and 2010. Additionally, the Alliance has contracted with Keybridge Research, an independent organization that will evaluate the impact of the school meals agreements in a manner similar to its evaluation of the Alliance's beverage agreement.

In addition to Tyson Foods, companies that have partnered with the Alliance to improve school meals include AdvancePierre Foods, Asian Food Solutions, Bake Crafters Food Company, ARYZTA, ConAgra Foods, Domino's Pizza, JTM Food Group, High Liner Foods, McCain Foods USA, Rich Products Corporation, Schwan's Food Service, Tasty Brands, Trident Seafoods, HPS, Premier healthcare alliance, Summa/Provista, Interflex, Horizon Software, NutriKids, Del Monte Foods, Dole Food Company, Inc., and the National Turkey Federation.

Parents, school administrators and food service directors can help the Alliance fight childhood obesity and bring healthier meals to schools across the country by joining the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Healthy Schools Program online at http://www.healthiergeneration.org. There is no cost to join the Healthy Schools Program, and members have access to hundreds of resources, including a variety of no-cost technical tools that enable anyone who makes purchasing decisions about school meals to implement and promote healthier options for students.

About Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN), founded in 1935 with headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, is one of the world's largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef and pork, the second-largest food production company in the Fortune 500 and a member of the S&P 500. The company produces a wide variety of protein-based and prepared food products and is the recognized market leader in the retail and foodservice markets it serves. Tyson provides products and services to customers throughout the United States and more than 130 countries. The company has approximately 115,000 Team Members employed at more than 400 facilities and offices in the United States and around the world. Through its Core Values, Code of Conduct and Team Member Bill of Rights, Tyson strives to operate with integrity and trust and is committed to creating value for its shareholders, customers and Team Members. The company also strives to be faith-friendly, provide a safe work environment and serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it. 

The Tyson Foods, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3224

About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, works to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity and to empower kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. The Alliance works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to transform the conditions and systems that lead to healthier children. To learn more and join the movement, visit www.HealthierGeneration.org. 

CONTACT: Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Abby Manishor
646-775-9152
Abby.Manishor@HealthierGeneration.org
Tyson Foods, Inc.
Krista Cupp
479-290-5195
krista.cupp@tyson.com

Tyson Foods, Inc. Logo

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