So how's the health kick going? You know that fitness vow you started, we're halfway through the year and have you had any temptations? Well, we may have found something to help you with your sweet cravings. New York-based company The Protein Bakery. Founder Stephen Lincoln explains: 'There is no enemy if you are living in balance. And what better way to bring balance in your life than through a cookie!!'
Samantha Johnson: Stephen thank you for inviting me to Chelsea to experience your bakery. Tell me about your inspiration.
Stephen Lincoln: It really started off as a hobby when I was a fitness instructor but I created The Protein Bakery in 1999. The inspiration came from standing in the queue at Starbucks looking in the case for something to eat and I remember thinking ‘I want protein’ and there was nothing in this case that had protein in it so thought ‘what if we just added a little, not a lot like 50 grams because it would taste like chalk, but just a little’. From then, my idea was to create something inspired by my Grandma’s cookie recipe, Martha Stewart’s best baking segment and then combine it with your high energy fitness gym that’s all about ‘you’. So, when those meet, that’s where the Protein Bakery lives.
SJ: What about your ingredients? At the moment, there’s a lot of emphasis on the amount of sugar in products, what are your thoughts on the "War on Sugar?"
SL: Well, first and foremost I’m a ‘Cookie’ guy and I’m a ‘Brownie’ guy and I’m never going to apologize for that. There are too many things out there already that are sugar-free, fat-free and in my opinion taste-free, texture-free and satisfaction-free. I would rather eat one of my cookies and be satisfied. Again, I’m not pretending to be a non-sugar item and there are alternatives. In fact, I do make three low-sugar items— a cookie, brownie and blondie. As for our other snacks, if sugar is not your gig then go for the Walnut Brownie or Peanut Butter Blondie — basically anything without a chocolate chip has less sugar. The Peanut Butter Blondie is our highest in protein, 16 grams.
SJ: How does your product fit into a healthy diet and how are they different from what’s already on the market?
SL: Our line-up are definitely treats. But you wouldn’t overindulge and you wouldn’t want to because of the added protein, it fills you up faster. That’s our POV. Creating a snack that's truly balanced. There’s 16g of protein and there’s 3g of fiber and it’s made by hand every week and you can pronounce every ingredient on the back. It’s a healthier product than what’s out there. Everyone deserves a cookie, so why not have something, healthier, fresher, less processed, all-natural, higher in protein and working for you instead of working against you. What doesn’t work for me is seeing a protein bar made into the shape of a cookie and calling it one… Who’s fooling who?
SJ: Is it just for gym goers?
SL: Yes but not exclusively. I created the bakery for everyone with a sweet tooth, I wouldn’t want people to assume, ‘Oh only bodybuilders eat your products.' Pregnant women love my product because it helps stabilize blood sugar, it satisfies their sweet craving and they’re getting lots of protein. I’ve had so many women tell me ‘you got me through my pregnancy,' which is always such a great compliment to me. I recently had a couple stop by and say ‘we found you 8 years ago, our child is now 8 and my wife ate your products while she was pregnant’ so that was our first Protein Bakery baby.
SJ: And what’s the next step for The Protein Bakery?
SL: Next steps, more likely.... To expand the brand and expand globally. We recently introduced new protein shakes. Three flavors so far. Also we have Celebration Cakes— so maybe more size options for those as well as our new vegan options. So far we have just cookies. Which use peanut flour. Offer more choices in our low-sugar line-up, I mentioned earlier. ...How 'bout a better-tasting protein bar? Now that I'm thinking. I’d also love to manufacture a dry ingredient so you can create whey protein concentrate-based snacks yourself. At home, add in things you love. As for our expansion worldwide, we now have DHL making it easier and quicker to get our fresh-baked goods to their destinations. Which has really made a difference to our global fan base.
SJ: Awesome chatting sweet stuff with you, Stephen.