Food World Problems


Lately there has been an ongoing dialogue in my head about food choices. I bake a lot at home, so I’m well aware of how much basic ingredients cost. Ever since B briefly embarked on a low FODMAP diet, I’ve really embraced baking with organic spelt flour. Currently, spelt is more than twice the price of plain wheat flour and true free-range eggs are almost $1 per egg, for starters.

When I eventually open a bakery one day, I’d like to continue using the best ingredients I can. A friend remarked that my ideals will probably have to take a backseat once I start having to think in terms of how to run a viable business. Maybe that’s true. Maybe that’s why someone once asked me if it was really that important that his business continue to use organic, pesticide-free flour, after he started looking into how much it was costing. Maybe that’s why I’ve seen a popular cafe in the city use caged eggs (displayed in plain sight, in their open kitchen). Or why some clearly-not-struggling restaurants would choose to not use free-range meat.

In a city where most people have the mindset that Asian food should be cheap, bread should not cost more than $X and cakes need to be cheap and colourful in order to appeal, I wonder if I’ll be able to bake for a living, doing it the way I prefer to, and still sleep well at night.


  1. Marijke said,

    May 10, 2016 @ 2:41 pm

    I understand your internal struggle, I’ve set up a little business from home baking granola, keeping my ideals intact. But with thought to this poorer country town in mind. I use biodynamic, local, organic and pesticide free wherever I can. But keeping some of the ingredients like nuts “normal”. I’ve found a middle ground with that, keeping it affordable enough without loosing my high aim and my dignity.
    I love baking sourdough for our family with wholemeal spelt, prices vary a lot. I’ll be investing in a grain mill to be able to buy in large 20kg bulk bags, which will work out much cheaper and fresher.
    Many people want to pay extra for quality and taste, start small, dream big! ?

  2. Jules said,

    May 10, 2016 @ 6:44 pm

    Really thought provoking post!

    One of the reasons I’ve never wanted to open a restaurant is because of the low margins (and I hate hard work!)

    But I think there would totally be a market for your beautiful baked goods. And there are always going to be people who will pay whatever you ask for something they really want. So I’m sure you will be able to find a way to make it work!

    Don’t give up on your dreams!

  3. Marijke said,

    May 10, 2016 @ 7:03 pm

    Thanks for you kind comment on my blog, I hope the bakery works out for you.
    Be sure to visit the little wood fired bakery “HearthFire” in Bellingen if you ever come up this way. It made me think of you…

  4. leaf (the indolent cook) said,

    May 11, 2016 @ 2:23 am

    I’m the same as Jules – I can’t imagine going into the restaurant business. I’ll work for one, but actually running one is a frightening thought! Yet I also agree that there is a place for what you want to do. Fine dining establishments exist, after all, so there are definitely people out there who are willing to pay more!

  5. jack said,

    May 11, 2016 @ 5:26 pm

    Many people seem to forget that you get what you pay for. But there are also people who are willing to pay for food made with good quality, ethical ingredients (myself included). Don’t give up on your ideals, there must be a way to make it work!

  6. Louisr said,

    June 12, 2016 @ 4:02 pm

    I hope that one day we will all start to value our food more and understand why our gorgeous cake baked with free range eggs and spelt flour costs more. The food business is a hard business to be in.

  7. Y said,

    June 12, 2016 @ 4:05 pm

    Louisr : Me too! Thanks for the comment 🙂

  8. Marcellina said,

    June 13, 2016 @ 9:48 pm

    So true! Unfortunately, the farmer is at the end of the chain and can only take the price he is offered by the big multinationals who are the price makers. There is a lot of money made by these companys. We need to stand up to that so that we can ensure the farmer is producing the best food and getting the right price so that he can keep doing what he is doing.

  9. Mary said,

    September 27, 2016 @ 7:26 pm

    Lovely stuff – I’ve only really begun to appreciate home-made jams and chutneys in the last couple of years. I’m still a bit intimidated by the preserving process and so rely on market stalls and the kindness of friends for the occasional fix. ?

  10. Caitlin said,

    August 12, 2017 @ 2:00 am

    Oh man, I feel this. We definitely go out to eat less now that we make sure we’re going places that use cage-free eggs, organic ingredients, etc. And we buy and eat less meat because the stuff we buy is from a local farm. But we still buy it, and we aren’t compromising those values, so I have to believe that there will be people clamoring to go to your future bakery.

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