Seniors develop keto diet snack


Photo courtesy of Keelin Frank

From left to right: Charlie Stahurski, Candice Mazewski (the team’s TA), Karen Zheng, Allison Streeter, Keelin Frank and Regan Doolin, all seniors in ACES, developed Keto Kups, a quiche-like snack food for people on the ketogenic diet.

By Trisha Bhagat, Staff Writer

Last semester, students Keelin Frank, Regan Doolin, Allison Streeter, Karen Zheng, Candace Mazewski and Charlie Stahurski decided to create a food product that followed the ketogenic diet for their class, FSHN 466: Food Product Development. They wanted to take a beloved frozen snack and “Keto-tiz-it” into a product that someone on this diet could eat. They ended up creating Ketotizit!, a startup that focuses directly on maintaining a ketogenic diet in a delicious way.

With a growing trend in the ketogenic diet — a high-fat, low-carbohydrate meal plan that forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates — these students developed a snack to help those with dietary restrictions still enjoy the meals they thought they couldn’t eat.

They created Keto Kups: bite-sized snacks similar to a quiche. Hemp Hearts, a trending ingredient, are found in the crust to add a nice flavor and bring a higher fat content. They researched several recipes and trending flavors, finally deciding on buffalo chicken.

Stahurski, senior in ACES, shared his teammates of Ketotizit! actually went on a 48-hour ketogenic diet to see what consumers were experiencing when developing their product. They all realized they had a craving for high carb foods, such as pizza and bread, and wanted to design a nutritious product that could fight this craving for consumers on the diet.

“Ketotizit! is one of the first companies to develop a ketogenic frozen snack that only needs to be reheated. It allows for people on the ketogenic diet to come home from work or school to enjoy a quick convenient snack before preparing a keto dinner,” Stahurski said.

 After developing the actual Keto Kup product, the team began to think of what its startup could offer and how Ketotizit! would analyze what consumers on the ketogenic diet were going through.

The team was paired with Patryk Swietek, senior in Business, who served as its business adviser in FSHN 466, the senior capstone class.

Swietek is a co-founder of Menu3, an augmented reality menu startup on campus. He volunteered to participate in this food development class as a business adviser and was one of the seven Business undergraduates  that advised a team.

“I mainly focused my attention on providing business guidance to the project, business, marketing and pricing strategies,” Swietek said. “They built the product, and I helped create the strategy to get it in the hands of the consumers.”

Frank, senior in ACES, was another Ketotizit! team member. She said the team was fortunate to be matched with Swietek as its business mentor. He guided members through various marketing resources, like social media, and helped the team decide which parts of Keto Kups it should really focus on, such as ingredients. 

“Ketotizit! is a food product made for people on the ketogenic diet, which makes it super interesting in itself,” Swietek said. “Diets are not easy to maintain, especially the ketogenic diet, so providing an easy way to make that manageable is truly an amazing experience. Ketotizit! makes the ketogenic diet easier and even more enjoyable to do.”

For their final presentation in the capstone class, team members had to make a Shark Tank-style pitch to judges from the food industry. They competed against the other teams in their FSHN 466 class and won funding to move forward and compete in the Cozad New Venture Challenge, with a goal of learning more about the business perspective of food innovation and product design.

“That was the day we really became a startup company,” Frank said. “My favorite part of this whole experience was being able to take everything I’ve learned over my college career and apply it to make a product my team was proud of.” 

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