–By Amanda Wanke
Cake? Candy? Put the two together and you have Minnesota’s newest candy bar: Cakedy. The idea for the new food item is the brainchild of Ryan Taylor, a business management consultant who is turning his love for cake into a new business.
“I love cake. Each weekend, I’d go to Cub Foods and get a piece of marble cake; it was my guilty pleasure,” says Taylor. “I’m a very creative guy. My mind is always going to different places, so I thought, how could I turn this into a
Taylor recruited his sister, Krystal, to help with the idea. “She’s always been the family cake-baker for holidays,” he says. Krystal is also “very helpful and very task-oriented. I knew I was going to need someone to take the business where it needed to go. Those traits she displayed since she was young made her the prime candidate.”
In late 2010, the two started trying various cake and candy combinations to find the right recipe. “It was really trial and error,” says Taylor. In March 2011, the duo incorporated Cakedy. They began with three flavors:
- Peanutter: Peanut butter cake nougat mixed with butterscotch chips and covered in a chocolate shell
- RedHead: Strawberry cake nougat mixed with strawberry chips and covered in a vanilla shell
- Choco Chocatus: Chocolate cake nougat mixed with chocolate mint chips and covered in a chocolate shell
“We did a lot of market testing. We did a test on Nicollet Avenue and had lots of family and friends trying [what we made],” says Taylor, who has his MBA and undergrad degree from Gardner-Webb University in Boling Springs, North Carolina.
When it came to some of the technical parts of creating the Cakedy product, such as working on shelf-life stability and nutritional labeling, Taylor recently turned to AURI Food Scientist Charan Wadhawan.
“Her work with the nutritional labeling and the shelf-life has been incredibly helpful. We ask her questions, and she always gives us the right answers,” says Taylor, who connected with AURI through Kindred Kitchen, a “food business incubator” in North Minneapolis that provides clients with the tools and resources needed to grow and stabilize their food business.
Wadhawan completed the nutritional analysis on the Cakedy product and recommended preservatives and suppliers to help increase the shelf-life; a complete shelf-life study is in process.
Hitting a homerun
“We hit a homerun in terms of what we thought the market response would be,” says Taylor. “Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and people like the price point for what is essentially a gourmet candy bar.” Retailers sell the candy bar for approximately $1.49, while other gourmet candy bars often sell for $2-3.
The baseball reference is a good fit, as Cakedy was sold this spring at the Minnesota Twins spring training games and will also be sold this summer at the Saint Paul Saints’
Minnesota’s candy bar is also sold at small markets around the Twin Cities and in a few outstate locations. “We wanted to start with places where it’s easy to get in contact with the decision maker, and it’s helpful because they’re small business people, too,” says Taylor. “They give us advice as to how bigger manufacturers will do things and how you can get your product noticed.”
Idea to opportunity: Cakedy needed help with shelf-life stability and nutritional labeling to bring their product to market.
Outcomes: AURI Food Scientist Charan Wadhawan completed the nutritional analysis, recommended preservatives and suppliers, and is working on a shelf-life study that is essential to Cakedy’s
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