The health-passionate Hopkins siblings have created a low-carb powerhouse making solid ground in mainstream markets. Samantha Schelling reports.
Until his mid-teens, Luke Hopkins went through “spurts of growing out, before growing up”. His weight struggle ended when he followed a family friend’s advice to take up weight training with a low-carb, high-protein diet.
In 2012, Luke’s sister was running her own café. She learnt about low-carb from customers who were personal trainers and others avoiding carb-heavy breads and muffins.
Two years later, Anna sold her Whole Meal Café and the pair launched The Protein Bread Co. It offered low-carb, high-protein, gluten-free baked foods to elite athletes and people with specific health needs.
Luke says its growing commercial success, combined with Anna’s Low Carb Kitchen (low-carb and no-added-sugar baking mixes) success, resulted in them combining the two brands to form PBCo.
Hopkins says mainstream interest in low-carb eating has seen the market grow 250 per cent over the past five years – a trajectory he expects to continue in the foreseeable future.
“When we first started selling Protein Bread from Whole Meal Café in Darlinghurst back in 2012, it was mostly body builders and fitness models who understood the effects of carbohydrates. Fast forward seven years and everyone is talking about it, and – more importantly – so many mainstream Australians are experiencing first-hand just how good they can feel by cutting out the crap, and reducing their carb levels.
“When the CSIRO, Australia’s national science research body, releases a book for the general public championing the benefits of a low-carb diet, you know it’s reached mainstream.”