In December 2010, entrepreneur Anna Hopkins opened The Wholemeal Cafe in Darlinghurst Sydney. With no prior experience she grew the cafe into a healthy hotspot for locals and whilst Hopkins admits that creating a business from scratch was hard, she reflects saying that the vision of seeing a Wholemeal Cafe in every suburb is what kept her going day in and day out.
The last three years as Hopkins puts it have been filled with learning, adapting, listening and growing. The vision however began to change when Hopkins invented a new product to sell in the cafe – Protein Bread. A new innovation in the food market that has had health nuts going crazy town over product, resulting in a supply / demand situation that companies dream of. Hopkins explains the growth in a recent blog on The Wholemeal Cafe website:
It was from this listening and observing the market that Protein Bread was created. I noticed people were avoiding carbs and cutting out sugar & gluten completely. I tested, researched and baked until I created a bread with only 1g of carbs per slice that allows you to once again “Love your Bread”.
Protein Bread continued to grow and expand at a rapid rate, we went from baking 1 loaf at a time, to 3, then the maximum of 9 we could fit in our oven at the cafe. It was at that point that I realised this was actually another business in its own right, so we contracted out the baking to achieve volumes of 90 loaves at a time and registered The Protein Bread Company.
This rapid growth has been an amazing experience, but it has brought about a situation where I have to make a choice. We are currently negotiating some large contracts with national retailers, and for a combination of reasons, with mixed emotions, I have to let Whole Meal Cafe go.
This rapid expansion says Hopkins has meant completely changing her path, what started out as a vision to have a large chain of healthy cafes “Macca’s style” now is a different journey that will involve supermarket giants, manufacturers, some heavy competition and some serious marketing.
Hopkins says that she is searching and chatting with potential buyers for her Darlinghurst cafe at the moment, so that she can shift her focus entirely, being clear that she intends to leave her “first baby” in the right hands so they can continue with the healthy mission she set out to achieve.
Protein Bread products are now being distributed nationally via stockists and directly online. All products in the range meet three important criteria. They are high in protein, low in carbs, and gluten free.
featured image: smh.com.au