Lighthouse flour has a long history in Australia. Give us the quick backstory.
Lighthouse began in 1865 with a Scottish merchant trading in spices, tea and flour. He started the Robert Harper Trading Co. which grew into the Lighthouse brand alongside a rapidly changing world. In 2002 Anchor foods brought the Lighthouse brand to the West Coast of Australia where it now happily resides in the port town of Fremantle.
How has the world of baking changed over the last century? Has Lighthouse had to adapt?
The world of baking has changed monumentally in the last century. From wartime rations, to microwave cooking, to social media food fads. So much has happened to shape the baking world, but really, it is the creation of celebrity/reality TV cooking shows that has put baking back in the spotlight. These shows have de-gendered baking and inspired people all over the world. Along the way Lighthouse hasn’t necessarily had to adapt, as our focus has always been on the foundations of baking; good quality flour combined with inspirational recipes. Those things will never change.
Where is your flour grown and milled?
Lighthouse flour comes from wheat that is grown and milled here in Australia. This is really important to us and something we are very proud of. Australia grows the best wheat in the world, so we are very lucky to have it in our backyards. The owner of Lighthouse, David Clapin grew up in the South Western Wheat Belt on a family run farm, so supporting local farmers and the Australian agricultural business is really at the heart of what we do here.
What are the core values or philosophy of your business?
We value our history, reliability, and integrity. We pride ourselves on being an Australian grown, owned and run company. We exist to provide our loyal customers with premium baking products and expert advice.
Some of Lighthouse’s early advertising called out to “housewives”, but times, they are a-changin’. What does the modern Lighthouse customer look like?
You are totally right, no longer are we just the ‘housewives beacon’. Our customers can be anyone; from a dad making pizza from scratch with his kids, to a grandchild following their grandmothers’ classic recipes, to the contestants battling it out on a TV show. Our customers are simply those who appreciate good quality baking products and want to achieve expert results.
There are some beautiful recipes on your website. Do you develop and/or test them in-house?
Yes, we develop, test and photograph all our recipes in house. We have a wonderful food development department that focuses on maintaining quality and exploring new products and ideas. We update our recipes seasonally to encourage our customers to use ingredients they can buy locally. Every few months we have a mad week of recipe creation/testing followed by photo-shoots. Afterwards, the goodies are shared with the office. Best workplace ever.
What inspires you to keep showing up each day?
Well, there is always something amazing being baked in the kitchen, so the fresh bread and daily cake testing are good ways to keep us all inspired! It’s a small open plan office and the constant hive of activity always makes for a really inspiring and family-style workplace.
When people see your Lighthouse beacon, what do you hope they see? What will you be remembered for?
The logo was chosen in 1865 as a symbol for guidance and trust. And we believe that this still holds true today. People see the Lighthouse and feel a sense of familiarity and reassurance, knowing they will get the results they want every time.
What does the future hold for Lighthouse?
We like to think the future of Lighthouse will be similar to the past. Standing strong, taking on whatever comes our way and continuing to guide bakers to becoming experts in their kitchens. We love seeing that people are starting to once again appreciate the primal satisfaction of baking from scratch and learning how the quality of flour can improve the outcome of their baking.