Sara Lee gets a slice of the school menu

CHICAGO — Sara Lee Foodservice, a division of the Hillshire Brands Company, has introduced a line of products aimed at the kindergarten-12th grade education sector, focusing on turkey items for both breakfast and lunch.

Additionally, Sara Lee Foodservice will be participating in the United States Department of Agriculture Commodity Food Distribution Program that enables schools to purchase items at reduced prices.

The move positions Sara Lee Foodservice as a key player in the field of healthier food choices — a hot button issue when it comes to school lunches, which have been sharply criticized for their poor nutritional content.

“Sara Lee Foodservice is committed to supporting school meals and our wide variety of products provide nourishing, kid-friendly protein options to help develop healthy minds and bodies,” said Kathleen Novak, registered dietitian, the Hillshire Brands Company. “This is a significant step forward as we work to build a comprehensive offering to meet the unique needs of school foodservice.”

The product line includes Briar Street Market Turkey Chili, Briar Street Market Turkey with Gravy, Briar Street Market Turkey Sloppy Joe Meat, Briar Street Market Turkey Spaghetti Sauce, Briar Street Market Turkey Taco Filling and Briar Street Market Diced Turkey Breast Meat.

In addition to being available through the Sara Lee Foodservice broker network, the products are available through partnership with the USDA Commodity Food Distribution Program in select states.

“We are looking forward to the opportunity to work in partnership with the USDA to provide additional value to our school customers,” said Jennifer McDavid, manager of customer marketing, Sara Lee Foodservice.

Sara Lee Foodservice plans to continue working on new concepts for school meals for the K-12 market in the coming years.

The brand will also launch a new website geared to school cafeteria professionals this summer with recipes, product details on meal pattern equivalent information, nutrition specifications and child nutrition and whole grain indicators, as well as additional information on the Sara Lee’s participation in the USDA Commodity Food Distribution Program.

The K-12 product portfolio also includes individually wrapped whole grain blueberry, banana and double chocolate muffins.

Sara Lee Foodservice is a leading supplier of meat and bakery products to a broad base of foodservice operators throughout North America. Brands include Sara Lee, Chef Pierre and Bistro Collection bakery products and Jimmy Dean, Ball Park and Hillshire Farm meats. Sara Lee Foodservice products are available in restaurants, retail establishments, schools, convenience stores, healthcare facilities, hospitality venues and other foodservice operations.