Start-up eyes slice of market pie

Mr Edward says his HomeBakee website connects home bakers with buyers.
Mr Edward says his HomeBakee website connects home bakers with buyers.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Eager to take a slice of the growing market pie here, a local start-up has started an online marketplace to connect home bakers with customers.

HomeBakee, which was launched last December, also hopes to act as a "regulator" to filter out the bad apples in an industry which has been largely unregulated by the authorities. Unlike restaurants or cafes, home bakers do not have to be issued a food shop licence by the National Environment Agency to sell their products.

There are currently 55 home bakers across Singapore listed on the HomeBakee website, all of whom have to be certified in some way, according to its founder, Mr Denis Edward, 28.

Some have been trained as bakers locally or overseas, such as at international culinary institute Le Cordon Bleu, while others have gone through commercial food hygiene and handling courses. "It is not a must for home bakers to get certified. But we make sure that they do so because it gives consumers the reassurance that they uphold hygiene standards," he added.

The HomeBakee team also screens these bakers by visiting their kitchens and sampling their products. "HomeBakee allows home bakers to continue baking as a passion, and earn some money from it," said Mr Edward. "They don't have to spend thousands to open a shop or buy a new oven, just to do what they love."

Consumers can place orders for a variety of baked goods, including scones and pies. Each order has to be made in a limited quantity to ensure that the bakers do not flout guidelines, which permit only "baking on a small scale for sale" in homes. HomeBakee then delivers the items to the customer for a base fee of $10.

Housewife Felicia Rajandran, 35, prefers to buy home-baked goods for small family gatherings. She has ordered through HomeBakee three times, including once to order a customised birthday cake for her daughter. "I like that I can speak to the bakers before and after purchasing the baked goods to tell them my preferences and give feedback," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 24, 2016, with the headline 'Start-up eyes slice of market pie'. Print Edition | Subscribe