Whole wheat flour opens school doors with healthy, tasty tortillas



An Ardent Mills customer and leading supplier of premium flour tortillas for foodservice and retail was determined the school lunch market was a growing segment but that a tortilla with a healthier formula was required to meet the specifications of the dietary guidelines established for the program. Additionally, the taste profile would have to be adjusted to be acceptable to a younger consumer.


Our customer needed a new tortilla product with a primary ingredient that could provide 100% whole wheat nutrition to meet the school lunch program’s nutritional requirements. As a result, they developed a relationship with Ardent Mills that extended well beyond a standard ingredient supplier relationship. Ardent Mills provided them with additional formulation capabilities, supply chain assurance, risk management and a unique quality whole grain ingredient.

Solution emerges:

Ardent Mills launched new WheatSelect® white spring whole wheat flour in time for the January 2009 introduction of the new tortilla to the school lunch program. WheatSelect® flour is whole grain flour that tested well with consumers on taste and provides consistent baking performance. WheatSelect® whole wheat flour is milled to a granulation size that preserves the wholegrain properties and performs well in a wide variety of baking applications. And perhaps most importantly, WheatSelect® whole wheat flour provided the basis for a more nutritional tortilla product.

Customer solution strategy:

Ardent Mills' technical team focused first on developing a whole wheat tortilla that tasted great for this customer. Secondly, after working with other school districts, Ardent Mills' technical team needed to address the nutritional requirements early in the process which added an additional level of complexity. Ardent Mills' access to a breadth of food ingredients and capabilities aided the formulation development process as other ingredients could be incorporated to meet the nutritional requirements.

Customer reactions:

Pleased with the new formula that provided excellent roll ability and texture utilizing WheatSelect®, the mill supplying this customer was only 75 miles from their plant, giving them confidence in the Ardent Mills supply chain.

Success of the customer solution:

Our customer is now a successful school lunch program supplier of whole wheat tortillas providing their customers with desired nutrition aspects along with an incredible taste experience. These tortillas deliver the nutritional advantages of whole grains while also offering a lighter color, softer texture and milder taste – all the sensory attributes younger consumers prefer. Also, the tortillas carry the Whole Grain Stamp from the Whole Grains Council recognizing it as product s that contains at least half a serving or 8 grams of whole grain per labeled serving. The doors for the school lunch program incorporating whole wheat tortillas are open and should remain so for some time to come.