Vancouver Delivers Students a Healthy Pizza Eating Program in Schools

Panago partners with schools to be their number one pizza provider

VANCOUVER, Sept. 9 /CNW/ - Panago, western Canada's leading delivery and takeout pizza franchise proves that it has the right ingredients to stay on the menu in Vancouver schools. With the BC government leading the way with healthier eating guidelines, food vendors such as Panago are working hard to ensure all food products available in elementary schools meet the revised criteria.

The guidelines first introduced in 2005 and since revised in 2008 by the BC Ministry of Health and Education, were created in an effort to reduce the sale of junk food in schools and replace these products with healthier choices. Using Canada's Food Guide, the BC government created four categories based on foods nutritional value - "Not Recommended," "Choose Least," "Choose Sometimes" and "Choose Most." The categories are tough on high fat, high salt, high sugar, high caffeine, highly processed, super sized and high calorie foods. Anything falling under "Not Recommended" or "Choose Least" categories has been eliminated from school offerings and has been replaced with "Choose Most" or "Choose Sometimes" options.

"The BC government's introduction of healthier eating in schools has set a remarkable example for other provinces," says Sean DeGregorio Panago CEO. "As a parent with two young children, it was a pleasure being part of a process that allows our kids to have healthier options while still being able to eat some of their favourite foods," he states. Using the guidelines and working with a dietitian, Panago made slight changes to their current product offerings to ensure they met and exceeded the School Board's requirements. As of September, schools can order individualized salads, Cheese, Pepperoni, Chicken and Pineapple and Garden veggie pizza on a multigrain thin crust that all fit under the "Choose Most" category.

While working on this project, Panago also transitioned all ingredients on their menu so that they do not contain added trans fat, MSG and artificial flavours or colours. "Healthier eating is an important part of our culture," says Jason Symington Panago's Executive Chef and Certified Chef de Cuisine who also worked on the improved menu ingredients. "Panago takes pride in being an industry first with their higher food standards while consistently providing a product that customers can feel good about eating". This fall, the company will also introduce a healthier selection of drinks geared at children, the new 100% organic drinking boxes also have no artificial flavours, colours or added sugar and is available in apple, orange mango, grape apple and lemonade.

While BC is at the forefront of creating healthier eating environments, other provinces are quickly following by example. In April 2008, the Ontario government passed a legislation that bans trans fat sold in schools. The legislation in Ontario known as the Healthy Foods for Healthy Schools Act, calls for schools to provide healthier menu items based on Canada's Food Guide. The need for healthier food in schools is a result of studies conducted by the Government of Canada and Heart and Stroke Foundation that indicates one in three children in Canada are overweight or obese.

Founded more than 20 years ago, Panago Pizza is a made-in-Canada success story. Headquartered just outside Vancouver in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Panago Pizza is a privately owned company. The chain's people-first philosophy, penchant for innovation, commitment to excellent food and honest approach to business has been rewarded with consistent, steady growth. Today Panago operates 160 stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. In 2007, system wide Panago sales exceeded $132 million and Panago delivered more than 12 million pizzas. Please visit www.panago.com for more information.



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