Rebel Crumbles is a healthy crumble cake that will soon be launched in the School District of Philadelphia breakfast menu. Rebel Crumbles are filled with a half cup of fruit (apples and cranberries), whole grains, and spices. We think it is the first school food item created by a youth-run business anywhere, ever.
Here’s the story of how Rebel Crumbles were created.
In the fall of 2015, Rebel Ventures asked the Food Services Division of the School District of Philadelphia what it would take for a Rebel product (such as Rebel Bars) to be featured in school meals throughout Philadelphia. The Food Services folks said that to qualify for the school breakfast program, we should create a product that has 1/2 cup of fruit and 32 grams of grain (half of which must be whole grain). With this mission in mind, we entered into the Philly SEED pitch competition and won $5000 to fund the development of this new product, designed specially for Food Services.
With our newly earned cash and emboldened purpose, we began recipe testing in our kitchen. This meant working extra on weekends to get the job done. Our first recipes included ingredients like sweet potatoes, applesauce, and bananas.
After each recipe we developed, our crew conducted taste tests. With more than 50 versions created, we ended up eating a lot of cake!
As high school students our crew only represents one segment of our target audience. In order to also make sure the cakes are loved by younger students, we conducted extensive taste testing in local elementary schools. The kids were very enthusiastic participants.
As we developed the recipe in our kitchen, we also worked to identify a local manufacturer who could produce the cakes at the quantity needed for the School District of Philadelphia. We found an amazingly supportive partner in Michel’s Bakery, a commercial baking facility in Northeast Philadelphia, and had a lot of fun touring their operation.
The next step in creating our product was coming up with a name and a design for the package. We partnered with the incredible MESH Design agency, decided on the name Rebel Crumbles, and then took our package ideas directly to kids for their feedback.
That’s the story of Rebel Crumbles. We can’t wait till they are launched in every public school in Philly in January 2017!