Pita Products Rolls out New Pita Chips into Food Service

(Farmington Hill, MI) Pita Products, makers of the Pita-Snax brand, is embarking on a new channel of distribution in March, rolling out their award-winning Pita Chips into the food service industry nationwide. This will include convenience stores, vending operators and schools. Pita Chips are now contained in 1.5 ounce, grab-and-go bags specifically designed for portability essential to these outlets. The company decided to expand its distribution as a result of the popularity of its Pita Chips already available to mass grocery, natural and independent retail stores. Pita Products was founded on the basis of providing snacks for health conscious consumers including diabetics, remaining committed to its mission established at the start.

Shoppers appreciate the convenience and healthy ingredients of Pita Chips without the guilt associated with most snack foods. Pita Chips are delicious snacks made of 100% baked pita dough. They contain no trans fats, preservatives, cholesterol, saturated fats, added sugar (except Honey & Wheat). Pita Chips have a lower fat content than most other snack foods and contain fewer calories and carbs. They come in five all-natural varieties that include White Cheddar, Jalapeño & Cheddar, Tomato & Basil, Honey & Wheat and Sea Salt. Flavors were chosen after the company carefully examined the market for ingredients that were not only popular and flavorful, but healthy too.

“Pita Chips are the HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES when compared to the candy bars, soft drinks and fat-laden snacks normally found in food service,” states Alan Agemy, President of Pita Products. “Just because snack foods are packaged and convenient doesn’t mean they have to be unhealthy too. Pita Products is a real pioneer for the snack food industry.”

Consumers have remained interested in healthy snacks as a group while more consumers are likely to seek healthy foods in response to growing rates of obesity and diabetes. As a category, recent research from Mintel International Group estimated that healthy snack sales reached $5.5 billion in 2003, a 41% gain since 1998. Sales of snacks foods in convenience stores have grown at a rate of 6.5%, compared with 4.8% for the overall snacks market. The pace of snack sales in convenience stores through 2004 is expected to stay ahead of the overall market for snacks. This bodes well for Pita Chips entering the food service market as a healthy snack alternative geared for consumers of virtually all ages and interests.

When it comes to snack food options available to food service, Pita Products is raising the standards for quality and health in convenience stores and in schools. Packaged snack foods are often viewed as culprits to obesity and excess weight in kids. State sponsored legislation is currently in the works to curb the amount of unhealthy snacks found in schools. Many schools have vending machines full of unhealthy, brand name snacks whose profits are used to finance various educational departments. According to a recent survey conducted by the Food Marketing Institute, 45% of parents said their children eat lunch in the school cafeteria every day. While only 12% send a brown-bag lunch five days a week. This is especially problematic when kids use snacks in vending machines as alternatives to lunch.

Pita Products understands the challenges many schools and conveneince stores face and looks forward to providing their Pita Chips to food service. Agemy, started the Pita-Snax brand in response to his sister’s juvenile diabetes. At the time, there were few snack choices available that aligned with her strict diet, which were also palatable. Pita Chips are approved by the American Vegetarian Association; the White Cheddar, Jalapeño & Cheddar, and Honey & Wheat are vegetarian while the Sea Salt and Sun Dried Tomato & Basil are vegan. Pita Products is the recipient of the American Vegetarian Association’s Best in Show award and product merit award from the Nutrition Business Journal for their Pita Chips.

Pita Chips are available for purchase in convenience stores, select independent and chain grocery stores, and natural food stores. Visit the company’s website for complete store list and locations throughout the United States. Pita Products headquarters is located at 30777 Northwestern Highway, Suite 300, Farmington Hills, MI 48334. The company’s toll-free number is 1-800-600-PITA (1-800-600-7482); the local number is (248) 865-2700; the fax is (248) 865-2701. Visit Pita Products on the Internet at www.pitasnax.com or call Christie Communications for samples or additional information at 805-565-4122.

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