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Master of Agribusiness

Analysis of Flour Market Segments: A Study of How Specialty Products Affect Volume, Sales Dollars, and Margin Dollars

Andrew Garr, Valley Springs, Cal., defended his thesis, “Analysis of Flour Market Segments: A Study of How Specialty Products Affect Volume, Sales Dollars, and Margin Dollars” on March 6, 2017. He is the Plant Manager at Ardent Mills. Garr graduated from Kansas State University in May 2017 with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree.

In the flour milling industry, companies must understand current trends to remain competitive. With an increased focus on specialty wheat products today, Ardent Mills, the largest white flour miller in the United States, is faced with the decision of whether to increase production of these products, possibility at the expense of others. Garr examined how changing the product mix of Ardent Mills has an impact on volume, sales dollars and margin dollars. 

“In a changing industry, flour milling companies have to understand consumer trends and what actions are best for them to meet these needs. This thesis provides that analysis and helps a company understand how the growing demand for specialty products affects their business,” Garr said.

Garr’s study determined that increasing the volume of whole wheat flour sales will reduce white flour volume, total flour volume, white flour sales dollars, and total flour sales dollars. He found that strategies such as expanding UltraGrain production and an increased focus on margin dollars could increase Ardent Mills profitability as well.

Dr. Andrew Barkley, Professor and Garr’s thesis advisor, said, “Andrew Garr’s excellent thesis provides timely and meaningful information about flour milling trends. The thesis presents a statistical analysis of flour milling trends, and finds the relationships between wheat flour specialty products and their impact on the flour milling industry. The conclusions are important, given recent consumer interest in organic grains, ready-to-eat products, and whole wheat flour.”

The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/35270.