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Students take on sweet challenge


Teams in the Meaningful Economics (ME) competition developed ways to boost the demand for Peeps.

If Willy Wonka had gotten his hands on a modern coffee machine, his invention probably would have involved something magically sweet. In fact, it might have looked something like the "Marshmallo Peep Maker," a nifty, Keurig-like machine that, in one simple step, pops out any style of the soft, sugary snack desired.

"Tired of having to go to the store to get your Peeps? Have a Peep any time you want with our Peep maker that will make as many Peeps as you want whenever you want without having to wait for them to be produced at a factory and shipped to the store," students from Jones Elementary School in Newark told a group of judges as they presented their winning product idea in Delaware's 27th annual Meaningful Economics and Entrepreneurship (ME) Competition this past May.

UD's Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship, the Delaware Council on Economic Education and the Delaware Financial Literacy Institute sponsor the ME Competition in partnership with Bank of America and Discover. The event challenges third- through sixth-grade students to demonstrate their knowledge of economics, entrepreneurship and personal finance.

This year's competition called for student teams to help Just Born Inc., the family-owned business that produces the marshmallow candy, Peeps, by creating a new design or new use for its treats to help increase demand for the product.

Students needed to give the product or service a catchy name, determine a market, outshine their competition, price the product and plan on modes of distribution and selling. They then needed to prepare a strategy and a commercial to present to a panel of professional judges.

While the Peep maker took home top honors (it also had a sugar-free option for diabetic consumers) runners-up from 138 teams from 25 schools brainstormed tasty ideas that would have made Wonka proud.

"Flower Power Peeps" not only look like daisies, roses or tulips but smell like them; camouflage "CamoPeeps" remind people of military overseas; and "Skeep" lets consumers sculpt their very own Peep.

For the consumer not interested in eating Peeps, students from West Park Elementary School in Newark thought outside the box, with their "Peep Roof and Pipe Solvent."

Have a drip in your roof? A leak in your pipe? Stick a Peep in it, said the students, who designed their product "for people
who have leaks in their homes." They won third prize.