Bryn Pears was once a high flyer in the IT world. Things began to change in 2002 when he joined a fledging Melbourne café serving coffee and gluten-free cake.
Within 12 months the business had become a full-service restaurant, retailing 35 different products that were baked in the café kitchen.
Wholesale enquiries began to arrive from health-food shops and specialty stores wanting to resell the product.
In 2003, a separate facility was created for the bakery, and in October 2008 Pears sold the café to a third-party, and Silly Yaks was born.
Looking at the gluten-free industry, he saw it was a niche market in its infancy.
“It has turned out to be a much larger market than any of us who have been here for a long time expected it to be. It continues to grow at double-digit growth globally, so much so that big companies are starting to get involved.”
Silly Yak Foods sees itself as a special dietary requirements food company. “GF is too narrow a niche, because we cater to a lot of other dietary requirements. We are a clean label company,” Pears says.