DOLE FOOD COMPANY, INC. LAUNCHES INITIATIVE TO PROVIDE HEALTHY FOODS FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. - January 30, 2007
Dole Food Company, Inc. today announced that it is partnering with national organizations to launch a pilot program that will introduce innovative new vending machines to schools featuring healthy food products. The new vending machines will supply DOLE brand healthy foods such as fresh fruits and Fruit BowlsÂ®, in conjunction with cafeteria-prepared salads, sandwich wraps and milk, giving school children greater access to healthy and nutritious foods. These machines utilize School Link Technology software.
To launch the first phase of this program, vending machines will be placed in 15 schools across four states in February. The schools are located in Mesa, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; Shawnee Mission, Kansas; Corpus Christie, Texas and Conroe, Texas.
"The healthy school vending machine program is a natural extension of our company-wide commitment to promoting healthy food choices for overall well-being," said Richard Dahl, president and chief operating officer of Dole Food Company, Inc. "Statistics show that children do not eat enough balanced, nutritious meals. It is especially hard for kids in schools, where meal and snack options are usually limited. We are excited to be working with School Link Technologies to provide these vending machines to students."
Studies show that while many Americans want healthier snacks, they often find such options are less available. Dahl spoke of the importance in providing healthier options to consumers, especially children, stating, "Dole's duty as a responsible corporate citizen is to help educate children about the importance of a balanced diet, and make sure they have access to the healthy foods that are good for them," said Dahl.
All of the snacks and meals chosen for the vending machines are USDA approved and reimbursable under its guidelines. The machines will allow students to skip long lunch lines, while also making breakfast and snack occasions available, all reimbursable by USDA National School Lunch and National School Breakfast Programs.
At present, healthy vending presents an opportunity to meet Dole's long term goals: marketing meal and snack solutions that meet Child Nutrition Authorization Act requirements (and the subsequent changes in nutrition requirements in schools) and the Competitive Food Guidelines of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation; and assisting in the development of universal solutions to school health and wellness programs.
Dole is partnering with the National Dairy Board, Wurlitzer, in-Team consulting services and School Link Technologies to launch this program. The team expects to expand the program to additional schools later this year.
Dole Food Company, Inc., with 2005 revenues of $5.9 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers. Dole markets a growing line of packaged foods and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.