Canadian Pizza Magazine

Panago ready for Ontario schools

By Canadian Pizza   


pztomatothumbnailSeptember 15, 2010, Toronto – With the Ontario government
taking steps to mandate nutritional standards by next year, schools and parent
fundraising committees throughout the province are scrambling to find food
vendors that can comply with new guidelines, while still providing foods that
students will eat.

The need for healthier food in schools is confirmed by a
number of studies conducted by the Government


of Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, which have
found that one in three children in Canada are either overweight or obese. Working
with a dietician to create a menu that met the British Columbia regulations in
2009, Panago Pizza already had a hot lunch program that satisfies the standards
of the Ontario regulations.

“Finding a healthier pizza option for children is often a
tremendous challenge for parents. Every company makes their pizza differently
and the quality of the ingredients and nutritional value can vary widely. Our experience
meeting the guidelines in B.C. has proven that we have a selection of kid
friendly pizzas that meet the rising nutritional standards being mandated by
provincial governments across Canada,” says Panago Pizza CEO Sean Degregorio.

The nutritional standards outlined by the Ontario government
are intended to ensure that the food and beverages sold in schools contribute
to the student’s healthy growth and development. The “Healthy Foods for Healthy
Schools Act,” outlines three categories for schools to comply with. “Sell Most”
has to account for 80 per cent of food and beverages sold in schools, “Sell
Less,” should only be sold 20 per cent of the time. The category “Not Permitted
for Sale” are items that have few or no essential nutrients and contain high
amounts of fat, sugar or sodium and therefore must be replaced with “Sell Most”
or “Sell Less” options. These preferred categories are tough on high fat, high
salt, high sugar, high caffeine, highly processed, super sized and high calorie

Panago Pizza has a selection of pizzas in the “Sell Most”
category. Schools can choose Cheese, Pepperoni, Chicken and Pineapple or Garden
Veggie pizzas in various serving sizes on multigrain and in some cases regular

Although the sodium limit per serving outlined by the
province of Ontario is quiet high in the “Sell Most” category at 960mg, one
slice of a large Panago pepperoni pizza has 370mg of sodium.

To help increase fruit and vegetable servings, Panago also
offers individual salads and promotes a selection of 100 per cent organic juice
boxes that have no artificial flavours, colours or added sugar.

To make nutritional information accessible for parents and
schools, Panago has created a reference tool that categorizes their school
pizzas and serving sizes in a chart using the Ontario government’s nutritional standards.
The chart shows which pizzas and serving sizes meet the provincial criteria and
indicates the reasons a serving size may not fit the recommended categories.
The chart, along with a school package and all allergen information can be
requested from any Panago location and is available online at

British Columbia, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and
Newfoundland have mandated their nutritional standards. Initiatives by other
provinces such as Ontario towards healthier eating in schools indicate that the
remainder of the provinces might follow suit.

Founded more than 20 years ago, Panago Pizza operates over
175 stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and
New Brunswick. In 2009, system wide Panago sales exceeded $135 million and
Panago delivered more than 12 million pizzas.

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