Stafford USD 349 culinary arts and entrepreneurship students partnered with Stafford County Flour Mills to develop a white, whole wheat baking mix suited for a variety of bread dough recipes. Recently, their product gained distribution through Ben E. Keith, a broad line foodservice distributor based in Oklahoma City. Ben E. Keith’s foodservice division serves 11 states, Kansas being one of them.
The culinary arts students, using the Stafford High School’s commercial kitchen and advice of a food scientist and dietician created the formula for the bread mix. The white, whole wheat baking mix is light in color and has a fine texture making it accepted by those who prefer white bread, but provides all of the nutritional benefits of it being whole grain.
Taste tests were performed by the students to confirm that students do, in fact, prefer food made with this flour over conventional whole wheat. Upon successful taste testing, the entrepreneurship students developed the packaging, nutrition labels and sell sheets to promote the product.
In December 2014, the students presented the complete packaged product at a Kansas Association of School Boards Convention in Kansas City. Using leads gathered at this convention, students made sales calls to schools throughout Kansas to establish the demand for the product before approaching the distributor to carry the product.
With state interest shown in the product, the students traveled down to Oklahoma to present to a panel of three Ben E. Keith buyers in May. The students’ product is now available to schools in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Texas to purchase and use in school lunch and breakfast.
This student-crafted bread mix not only meets, but exceeds new USDA nutrition guidelines. The school will receive a commission from each bag sold, and the proceeds will provide ongoing support for the entrepreneurship program.
For more information about Ben E. Keith visit http://www.benekeith.com/.