Thursday, May 24, 2012
With a distribution of an estimated 50 million portions at schools across the nation during the 2011-2012 school year, Collegedale baked goods supplier Bake Crafters is working to improve school nutrition one baked good at a time.
From muffins to ciabatta bread, 70 percent of the supplier’s more than 600 products end up on school lunch or breakfast trays.
“Particularly in the last 10 to 15 years, the trend has been healthier foods in schools,” said Bake Crafters Director of Marketing Arlen Byrd. “Foods kids are comfortable with will likely carry over into adulthood, so in some ways school lunches are setting patterns for the rest of people’s lives, and that’s something we’re excited about contributing to.”
By the 2013-2014 school year Byrd said 100 percent of baked goods served in schools will be required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to contain 51 percent whole-grain flour. Bake Crafters is already providing those types of products in the form of whole-grain miniature pancakes or the Mighty Muffin, a fortified grain fruit product.
In addition to the new whole-grain requirement, the USDA will also limit the number of bread servings students consume during the week. Byrd said another product the company is excited about providing is a two-piece hamburger bun that only counts as one serving of bread. Previously, the best-selling hamburger bun was a two-piece bun that counted as two servings of bread.
“This is something a lot of our customers are really excited about,” he said. “Under new regulations for free and reduced lunches, students will only be served around nine or 10 bread servings each week.”
With 20 bakeries across that country that partner with Bake Crafters, Byrd said one of the company’s biggest advantages is being able to quickly provide new products. He said if a school requests a new product, the company can have it created, tested, baked and delivered the following week.
“Bigger brands move more slowly,” he said. “We’re the little guy, but we can often outperform the bigger guys. Because of the way we’re situated, we’re extremely nimble.”
Bake Crafters is a wholesale baked good supplier. No baked goods are made in Collegedale, but the sales office and headquarters are located there. Visit www.bakecrafters.com.