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Rural Iowa Baker a Big Fan of NuSun Oil

Sunday, February 1, 2009
filed under: Utilization/Trade: NuSun

Sunflower oil users come in all sizes and shapes. Some users require multiple jumbo train car loads at a time, while others need a 35-lb jug on a periodic basis.

One of the sunflower industry’s smaller customers is John North of Nishna Valley Bakery near Harlan, Iowa. Despite his size, he enthusiastically sings the praises of NuSun® sunflower oil.

North, who entered the baking world in 2000, wanted to find a unique niche in an industry that was reeling from the anti-carb craze. “People were telling me [it] was the wrong time to get into the baking industry. I borrowed against my life insurance with my wife’s permission,” he recalls.

The trans fat issue was getting lots of attention at the time. “Being a specialty baker, I wanted to give my customers the most wholesome and healthy product possible. I am very sensitive to the health factors,” he notes. North started working with various oils — then heard of the development of a new sunflower oil. “I don’t remember where or how I heard of it, but I was intrigued by the work being done on creating a new type of sunflower oil.”

The rural Iowa baker called the National Sunflower Association. The NSA obtained samples of NuSun oil for him — and the rest is history. North found that customers especially liked his “Wheat N’ Rye” bread, with NuSun as an ingredient. “The oil tends to provide a slightly ‘nutty’ flavor, and my customers are ‘nutty’ about that bread,” he relates. “They simply say it is delicious.”

North sees no difference in the shelf life of the NuSun bread, which is an important point for his supermarket sales. The oil presents no problems in dough mixing, rising or in baking quality. The breads have no preservatives.

North’s establishment is rather unique in another way: It is a “bake to order” bakery. He provides bread to several restaurants, supermarkets and also fills customer home orders. He doesn’t have walk-in traffic because he is located in the country.

North produces a sunflower seed bread as well, and has several customers who order their bread with lots of seeds.

Would John North like to expand his baking business? The answer is an emphatic “Yes!” Being close to Omaha, Neb., and the areas surrounding that metropolitan city provides growth opportunities. He especially likes the restaurant business, and many restaurant goers like fresh bread with salads, according to North.

“It takes some real effort to break into these markets. But with my track record of excellent products and dedicated customers, I think it can be done. NuSun gives me an edge as well, and I am going to let that healthy image of sunflower lead the way,” North affirms.

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