Sensitive stomachs and glutards will rejoice at the discovery of Honest Goods Co., an allergy-friendly bread range that started as a farmers market stall by creator Rebekah Barnett. Fast forward eighteen months and the sleek Honest Goods Co. loaves are now found at many of Perth’s trendiest cafes as a delicious alternative for health conscious eaters.
With aspirations to be the “Pana Chocolate of bread,” read about the genesis of Honest Goods Co. and future plans in Andjelka Jankovic’s chat with wellness entrepreneur Rebekah Barnett.
What was your lightbulb moment for starting Honest Goods Co.?
I’ve been gluten free for nearly a decade, but when I quit sugar (or, more specifically, high fructose sweeteners), I found there was NOTHING on the menu at cafés that I could eat without getting sick. At best a few poxy spinach leaves. I’d wanted to do something in food for a while, had a million ideas, then one day whipped up a paleo banana bread and thought – why doesn’t anyone sell this? LIGHTBULB: I should sell it!
Your products are all gluten-free! Why is that important to you?
I think gluten intolerance and other food allergies will only increase in the future. The human body isn’t built to handle so much processed food. For those of us who experience the discomfort of gluten intolerance, it can really ruin eating out. When I first went gluten free, I got lots of eye rolls and snarky comments from waiters and even friends. I don’t think people should be ostracised or treated like a pest for wanting to eat food that won’t make them sick. BUT you have to make it easy for the cafes and grocers to offer more options for us intolerants, so that’s what we’re doing.
What are your most popular breads?
The Paleo Pumpkin and Paleo Banana Breads, hands down. Banana bread is pretty much the Australian national food, so that’s a no brainer. The Pumpkin Bread, though, was a random kitchen experiment that turned out to be an unexpected winner. It’s featured on a lot of café menus around Perth (and regional WA) for a grain-free avocado or eggs on toast option, and also seems to be a favourite for grab-and-go instead of stodgy muffins.
Your Paleo Ginger Bread is a work of art (my favourite!), what new flavor combinations are you working on?
Thank you! We’ve got another one in the works but we can’t tell you yet! It may involve beetroot.
In a few months we’ll also be adding some new products to the range, which we’re super excited about. Think grab-and-go snacks without all the nasties.
You seem to love collaborations. Which local heroes have you been working with?
Your favourite, the Ginger Bread, is a collaboration with Pressed Earth, using the almond pulp that’s a byproduct of making their almond milk. They approached us at the end of last year to see if we could use the pulp and after a bunch of failed experiments, we finally hit on a winner! We’re both really happy to be minimising waste from the production process at the same time as making clean and yummy food and drinks.
At our farmers market stall (Subi Farmers Market) we always use Health Nut Foods nut butters on our breads. Jess’s nut butters are such good quality and come in the most creative flavours like choc hazelnut, vanilla cashew macadamia and goji almond. Better yet, they’re all natural and most of them have no sugar added. The choc hazelnut is like Nutella for grown ups and is definitely the most popular at our stall!
What other three Perth brands do you love in the wellness movement?
Rhyanna VL Yoga – I admire Rhyanna’s devotion to practicing and teaching not just the physical asanas, but how to “yoga” in day-to-day life. Aside from running popular classes in her beautiful Mosman Park studio, Rhyanna extends the yoga love to Wanderlust, Flow Festival and other events that bring experienced and budding yogis together around Australia and NZ. Her interest in nutrition and my interest in yoga have led to multiple collaborations on her inner city retreats. Perfect match!
Health Freak Café – I really appreciate the vision. We came on board with Health Freak when they had 4 cafes. Now they’re at 10, with another 10 scheduled to open this year. A lot of healthy food café options are so boutique that some people will never discover them, and what I love about Health Freak’s concept is that they’re taking clean food to shopping centres and other areas where McDonald’s is pretty much the status quo. Anyone in the business of making healthy food more appealing and accessible has my respect and support.
Wholistically Healthy – These guys do vegan and vegetarian food only, and everything they make is like a party in your mouth. It’s so good to see vegetables prepared in more creative, delicous combinations. They do home delivery and supply to local gourmet grocers, so you can get clean, plant based food on the go. I love everything (gluten free) on the menu!
Say you’ve never heard of paleo bread, how would you describe it in three words?
Baked Raw Ball?
Where are your three favourite cafés/stockists in Perth?
Someday Coffee Co – This super cute, new spot in Floreat opened the other week. I live round the corner, so I’m in there every other day for coffee, Pressed Earth juice, and the best mushrooms this side of the Swan.
Kirkwood Deli – Casual, friendly bare feet vibes. Part grocer, part coffee shop, Kirkwood has an amazing cabinet of salads, quiches and, of course, Honest Goods Co. I usually stop in for something to eat on the way to or from the beach.
Haynes St Larder – not Perth, per se. HSL is a caffeinated, turmeric-ed, kombucha-ed oasis in Kalamunda. I love their daily salads, and they a fantastic avocado and kraut combo on our Paleo Pumpkin Bread. Jess is a keen supporter of local brands and is always seeking out whatever is new and different – HSL was actually one of the first cafés to stock HGC.
How can people get their Honest Goods Co. fix?
We have a weekly stall at the Subi Farmers Market, every Saturday 8am-12pm. Otherwise, all our grocer and cafe stockists are listed on the website here. Rebekah