Klaus Gaiser has learned the art of Tofu and Seitan while studying abroad in East Asia in the 1970’s. Back in Germany, he starts making Tofu.
After a decade of pioneering Tofu in Germany, Klaus Gaiser starts a new business, TOPAS, focusing on Seitan-based meat alternatives. Adapting Seitan to Western tastes is the philosophy from the start.
Business starts out in the Gaisers’ living room. Later, operations move into a 400 sq ft room in the family house. The Spacebar snacks turn out to be a huge first success. Imitating a German meat specialty, Landjäger, the vegan snacks have a “rocket-like start”, as Gaiser reminisces today. He has struck a nerve: the Spacebar becomes a hit in the growing vegan scene in Germany. While the label design has changed greatly since, our Hemp Spacebar still looks and tastes like in those early days!
The turn of the millennium sees a significant upsurge for the company. In September, TOPAS moves into its own business quarters in Mössingen-Öschingen. The BSE crisis triggers an explosion of demand for organic, vegetarian, and vegan products – the problems of industrial-scale meat consumption are slowly creeping into public consciousness.
In 2011, the company moves into yet larger spaces in central Mössingen, a small town in southern Germany. Together with his wife, Sanni Ikola-Gaiser, Klaus Gaiser has created a family business that now sells its products in virtually every organic shop in Germany, and in many shops across Europe. The founder is still personally in charge of product development, working in a former butcher’s shop converted into a vegan laboratory and experimental kitchen.