Baker who recycles bread expands waste-busting range
Published: 11 Mar 2020
It started on a modest scale with so-called "waste bread" - repurposing unsold bread that might otherwise go to waste into a new, larger sourdough loaf.
Now there are savoury crackers made with leftover cheese ends, baguettes turned into croutons, and day-old croissants filled with fresh ingredients. It's all part of a drive by a UK bakery chain to become a zero-waste business.
At least 25 new products and initiatives are promised over the coming year by Gail's, as part of an entire Waste Not range of foods which aims to cut down on ingredients squandered throughout the company's supply chain.
Globally, the UN estimates global food waste causes about $940bn (£770bn) a year in economic losses. It says a third of the world's food is wasted while one in nine people remain malnourished, while food waste also accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Surplus bread remains one of the biggest waste problems for food retailers, according to the UK government's food waste adviser Wrap, particularly from freshly baked lines which have a short shelf life. It is also wasted in our homes: Britons throw away 24m slices a day.
The original "waste bread" is made from strong white flour, malt, and a decades-old sourdough "starter", mixed with so-called "bread porridge" - a brownish, flecked mush of fresh breadcrumbs from leftover loaves blitzed into tiny pieces.
"We freshly bake all our products every day and obviously we don't know how much we are going to sell," said Gail's co-founder Tom Molnar. "The waste sourdough bread has proved very popular with our customers, and as a result, we decided to review our entire range of products and ingredients to see how best to tackle waste. It seems a good example of the circular economy in action and reflects the philosophy of our business."
The circular economy model - which aims to use closed-loop production to keep resources in play for as long as possible - is being increasingly used in a range of different sectors from food, packaging, plastics and fashion.
For further information, please visit https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/09/baker-who-recycles-bread-expands-waste-busting-range