Sticking to a strict diet is difficult if a person doesn’t know what goes into their food, but one USF alumna is helping people keep up with a nutritious lifestyle.
Entrepreneur Jordann Windschauer, who graduated in 2012 with a degree in mass communications, started Base Culture to sell baked goods to a health conscious community.
Before opening the business that now serves most of central Florida, she said it simply began as baking desserts for her friends.
“It started off as just me in my apartment kitchen mixing together recipes,” she said. “I’ve never done this before, so it’s a shot in the dark.”
At the time, Windschauer and her friends were on the paleo diet, which mimics the diet of ancient hunters and gatherers who lived off the lands.
But sticking to the diet is difficult, she said, since it only includes unprocessed meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds without preservatives or added sugars.
To avoid temptation from commonly available processed food recipes, she baked food including only ingredients that fit into the paleo diet.
The results were noticeable, Windschauer said, who enjoyed better sleep and more energy.
Yet, without sugar, she said there was one thing she couldn’t stop craving: the sweets.
She spent hours figuring out and writing recipes with sweetening ingredients such as almond butter, vanilla extract and coconut flour.
After receiving positive feedback from her friends, Windschauer branched out and started selling banana bread, hummingbird cake and muffins to the “Crossfit warriors” with whom she exercised.
She also capitalized on social media, setting up a Facebook page for others interested in paleo-approved baked goods that one cannot usually find in a grocery store.
“I would make a post saying I was baking today and ask for anyone’s orders then,” she said.
The Facebook page got the attention of local media, including a WFLA interview that aired nationally. Local newspapers and social media also spread the word about the natural products Base Culture offered.
With the popularity of Base Culture steadily rising, Windschauer moved production from her apartment kitchen to a commercial kitchen in Oldsmar.
“After the media coverage, more orders started coming in and I had to become a legal commercial business,” Windschauer said.
While production takes place in the commercial kitchen, paperwork is mostly done in her Tampa apartment.
“Compared to one year ago, it is amazing to see where we are now,” she said.
In one year, a small apartment-kitchen business transformed into a staffed bakery that produces about 500 units of food daily.
There are currently eight employees on the Base Culture staff working as bakers, packagers, deliverers and social media coordinators.
“It’s all about relationships you build and people you meet,” Windschauer said. “We put an importance on quality and consistency.”
Base Culture has products in about 26 stores across central Florida. Windschauer said, with future meetings and new relationships, products could reach the shelves of more stores soon. Not only is Base Culture now found in grocery stores, it is found in privately owned businesses, too. One of these local businesses is a coffee shop in Tampa called Coffee EVI.
Co-owner of Coffee EVI, Yasemin Fritchman, said the owners and clients of local coffee shops always prefer natural food to processed food.
“We have actually limited our treats to Base Culture,” she said. “We discontinued our regular brownies and regular cookies so we are just having theirs.”
Fritchman said the reason for switching over to Base Culture products was simple for Coffee EVI.
“It’s good for people and it tastes great so people don’t actually miss the regular things,” she said. “(Base Culture) has a great system. We place our order and the next day they deliver; it works perfectly.”
Windschauer said she meets anyone interested in Base Culture and is happy to get her products out in different locations branching as far south as Fort Myers.
However, Windschauer’s dream for Base Culture isn’t about ending up in the biggest grocery store.
“I would say my ultimate dream would be for Base Culture to be a household brand,” Windschauer said. “I want people to be able to recognize the brand as a safe food for their families to eat.”