Vegan Foods

She started cooking in the evening during confinement. Now this vegan baker supplies 40 Checkers stores.

Heidi Dempers of Yum Baker. (Provided)

  • During the Covid-19 lockdown, Heidi Dempers started her own baking business to make ends meet after her salary in the tourism industry was cut.
  • She cooked sweets at night after work and on weekends, supplying them to a butcher shop in Centurion.
  • After realizing there was a gap in the vegan market, she jumped in to fill it.
  • Today, his company Yum Bakes supplies more than 19 kinds of vegan treats to more than 40 Checkers stores in Johannesburg.
  • She makes vegan rusks, fudge, peppermint pie, malva pudding, lamingtons, chocolate cheesecakes, cupcakes, and more.
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When Heidi Dempers’ full-time job in the tourism industry could no longer support her during the Covid-19 lockdown, she turned to baking to make ends meet. Now she supplies vegan treats to over 40 Checkers stores in Gauteng.

“In April 2019, I realized from a tourism perspective that we were in trouble because our salaries were being cut,” Dempers said. “I told my husband that we would have to find another source of income because the money was not enough. We had a deposit to pay and children to feed.

The 47-year-old mother-of-two approached a butcher shop in Centurion and wooed the owner with the idea of ​​providing them with home baked goods. They were enthusiastic.

With the help of her husband, she fulfilled the orders and then launched Yum Baker, an online business delivering baked goods to her neighborhood.

Yum Baker (provided)

Yum Baker (provided)

Dempers didn’t start her business with vegan pastries, but she soon realized there was a gap in the market for vegan treats, especially typical local specialties.

“I had coffee with some vegan friends one night and asked what they were missing from a vegan perspective, and they said one of the things they really miss was fudge, and which contains animal by-products,” Dempers told Business Insider South Africa.

The baker spent her nights after work, when her kids went to bed at 7:00 p.m., and weekends trying to make vegan fudge. After cracking the code, Dempers invited his friends over to find out what they thought of the final product.

Vegan Christmas Treats (Yum Baker)

Vegan Christmas Treats (Yum Baker)

“It worked, and soon our little online store was busy. Next thing I had like 15 vegan items available,” Dempers said.

Some of the treats created by Yum Baker are vegan rusks, fudge, peppermint pie, malva pudding, and lamingtons, among others – mostly adapted from his grandmother’s recipes and turned into vegan treats.

According to Dempers, the ingredients a vegan baker needs to substitute most often are butter, milk and eggs.

“When I started cooking, I made my own vegetable butter with vegetable milk. I had to go study the egg substitute. What was great was that when I started during Covid I had time to sit down and experiment, get the recipes right and still give it that homemade taste,” said Dempers told Business Insider.

Vegan Treats (Yum Baker)

Vegan Treats (Yum Baker)

The enthusiastic baker then began researching which retailers she could supply her products to, and Checkers was one of the first targets on the list.

Fast forward to April 2021. The retailer responded and she started stocking her first Checker store from her kitchen in Northriding.

In just over a year, Yum Baker has expanded its range from 15 to 19 product lines and now delivers to over 40 Checkers stores in Johannesburg. Dempers plans to supply 10 more by the end of 2022.

Yum Baker <a class=Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake (Yum Baker)” data-smallsrc=”” src=”” title=”Yum Baker Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake (Yum Baker)”/>

Yum Baker Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake (Yum Baker)

Vegan treats (Yum Baker).

Vegan Treats (Yum Baker)

“For me, the opportunity to give a vegan version of what we grew up with at home to shoppers is very close to my heart,” Dempers said. “If you had told me three years ago that this is where I would be today, I would have said there is no way. But I will continue like this, and we will see what the future holds for us.