Ready Pac Foods has rolled out new kid-friendly items to help schools meet new nutrition standards.

Nine new items have been added to the Irwindale, Calif.-based company’s Cool Cuts line, said Tristan Simpson, the company’s marketing director.

“We have a new product offering for the schools because this school year the nutritional standards changed dramatically,” Simpson said. “Although we have been working with the schools prior, we came up with a new line to accommodate the new standards.”

The new items include five salads and four smaller packs that feature either fruits or vegetables with a dip or two commodities.

The salads, each about 9 ounces, include:

  • Taco
  • Caesar
  • Tomato Italiano
  • Garden Chef
  • Southwestern

The smaller packages, ranging in size from 2.75 to 4.75 inches, include:

  • Apples and yogurt
  • Carrots and ranch
  • Veggies and ranch
  • Apples and raisins

In 2011, Ready Pac conducted recipe development work for schools, Simpson said. The new Cool Cuts items are a result of those efforts, she said.

The company is working with schools around the country to implement the new program, she said.

“Having two pre-teen boys myself, I’m very proud of the work Ready Pac is doing to improve upon healthier meal choices for students,” said Simpson. “It not only helps our company growth, but also helps school foodservice directors and the schoolchildren they serve.”

Understanding children’s taste preferences is a key to the success of Ready Pac’s school programs, Simpson said.

“If the kids don’t enjoy the healthy options, they simply won’t choose them,” she said. “The availability of less healthy school meal and snack options in schools has contributed to childhood obesity rates in America, which have tripled over the last three decades.”

New federal nutrition standards for schools, set by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, are designed to ensure that school children are offered both fruits and vegetables every school day.