In 1902, the first Sanitarium café opened its doors, in Pitt Street, Sydney. Throughout the 1900s Sanitarium continued to open vegetarian cafes and health food shops throughout capital cities in Australia and New Zealand.
The café concept was designed to introduce people to a better way of living and were well received by the community. One customer was so impressed when he visited the Sydney store that he wrote asking for another meal to be prepared so that he could show his friends, and requested the meal be sent to him 300 miles away!
Over a six-month period in 1904, the café served 8,000 customers, and by 1939 99,723 customers were served in six months.
In Australia and New Zealand, these stores flourished for decades, introducing people to a better way of living through vegetarian eating. By the 1980s, changes in the buying habits of consumers prompted Sanitarium to close its cafés and retail stores in order to partner with the growing supermarket era. Sanitarium remained committed to sharing health and wellbeing knowledge and resources, as demonstrated by the formation of Sanitarium’s Nutrition Education Service, in 1987 - now known as Sanitarium Lifestyle Medicine Services
The Sanitarium café story has not come completely to a close. The journey began again in 2008, when we opened up Kitchen, by Sanitarium, a whole foods café in Eagle St, Brisbane.