Parkhurst Dining, the Pittsburg-based college food service provider, has seen an increasing number of students seek out gluten-free. At its Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) account in Washington, Pa., the numbers have reached double digits the past few years, according to director of partnership development Aaron Weaver.
An unusual solution to providing tasty gluten-free desserts and entrees appeared at his office door two years ago; Megan DeLisle, then in her junior year, started up her own baking company, Gluten-Free on 5th, to help her celiac father enjoy “normal” food. She was seeking contracts to sell her baked goods and microwaveable meals.
“Parkhurst offered her free consulting services,” Mr. Weaver recalled. The college worked with her to meet all legal requirements of labeling and transport of product, and advised and mentored the budding entrepreneur.
“I enjoyed all her meals, and her cupcakes were the best. We marketed the fact that she was a W&J student and now a grad; we sell about 100 of her gluten-free meals a month.”