By: Tebogo Mokwena
Like many others in the tourism sector, Heidi Dempers had to find another way to make money during the lockdown. She faced an unexpected pay cut and decided to turn to her long-time passion of baking to supplement her salary. Now her business Yum Baker, which was founded in 2020, supplies one of the biggest retailers in Gauteng and Dempers plans on going national.
Dempers told Vutivi News that initially she baked at night and during the weekends, and not all her products were vegan. She used her own oven and oven trays, and her husband help her with packaging. Dempers initially supplied a local butchery with baked goods and had an online store, before approaching Checkers. “When I approached Checkers, I knew nothing about retail, so I approached their online portal which helps SMMEs and I met the manager of the Checkers’ Centurion branch,” Dempers said.
“They agreed to feature the products on the shelves of one Checkers, and in a short space of time they added more shops.” Today she supplies over 40 Checkers outlets in Gauteng with vegan-baked treats such as rusks, cheesecakes, cakes and many other products. Dempers explained how she transitioned to baking vegan-based products. “I used to bake for my friends and one of them, who is a vegan, noted that they hadn’t had vegan fudge in a long time,” she said.
Dempers challenged herself to use vegan ingredients in her baking, and when she did research on veganism, she decided that it was the best direction for the company. “I started studying a lot on veganism and it was hard to understand it at first, but I ended up loving the values so much that I adopted the vegan lifestyle for the whole family,” she told Vutivi News.
Dempers said that her products were made with love, and she was proud that they were on the shelves of a major retail store. “My biggest dream is to make vegan treats available nationwide not just for vegans, but for those who are lactose intolerant and people with allergies who cannot drink milk,” she said.