Add Value: Wheat Snack Product
Wheat Farmers Create, Package Unique Snack to Add Value to Commodity
|In a Utah version of All in the Family, Wes and Jean Roundy enlisted their two daughters to help develop, cook, package and market their popped Add Value: Wheat Snack Products, which evolved from a recipe created by Wess father, Brooke. Photo by Ron Daines.|
Adding value to a traditional crop like wheat can augment producer revenues, helping to pump up farm profits. Wes and Jean Roundy of Cache Junction, Utah, received a SARE marketing grant to buffer the risks of taking their product, popped Wheat Snacks, from idea to consumer. They borrowed pans and kitchen space from a helpful local restaurateur, dubbed their popcorn alternative C.R.0.P.S Wheat Snacks and launched the new venture to weather low-price cycles and continue an 80-year family tradition.
In their first year, the Roundys sold 900 pounds of labeled popped Wheat Snacksplain, flavored and combined into bars with ingredients like peanuts, chocolate, fruit and honeythrough stores. As a commodity, the 900 pounds of wheat at $3.50 a bushel would have grossed $52.50. Sold as shelf-ready snacks, the 900 pounds generated $5,040, nearly a 100-fold increase.
To help expand their market outlets and product lines, the Roundys team with technical adviser Penny Trinca, Utah Association of Conservation Districts, to brainstorm and execute new sales ideas. As part of their entrepreneurial venture, theyve learned that the main key to success is assessing snack buyers and how to reach them. They also continue to refine ways of shepherding a product to market, where and how to make and package their snacks, how to protect their assets from catastrophe and how to prove to regulators popped wheat is safe.
The project has stimulated a local, grant-funded incubator kitchen where others can test products, and a local association devoted to promoting wise resource use and sharing information on farm entrepreneurship. The new association already has more than 60 members. It seemed overwhelming at first, but we found a lot of people willing to help, says Wes Roundy, who also grows barley, safflower and alfalfa on 3,300 acres with help from son, Shad. Its a challenge to generate incomes for more than one familyfarm entrepreneurship may solve that problem.
[For more information, go to www.sare.org/projects/ and search for SW00-117]