Bakery products


Student Ambassador, Claire Pretty, shares her tips for reducing bakery food waste


According to WRAP, 20 million slices of bread are wasted every day in the UK, along with tonnes of waste from the food industry, including hospitality, manufacture and retail. In retail bakery, our desire for all natural ingredients and freshly baked bakery items means short shelf-lives, and anything left unsold at the end of the day, must be thrown away.  

It is hard to accurately forecast fluctuating demands and so minimise food waste, hence the popularity of finished frozen bakery items such as those offered by Dawn which can be defrosted as demand dictates, or Dawn’s popular Scoop & Bake product line. With Scoop & Bake, the dough is ready to use straight from the pail and baked off as required. 

More and more bakers are devising new ways to minimise waste, whether repurposing ingredients, supplying to food banks or setting up collection schemes. 
Claire Pretty, UCB Bakery and Patisserie Technology Student and Dawn Foods Student Ambassador offers some nifty ideas:


1. Turn old products into new products

Consider new ways to repurpose unsold products for sale the next day. This could include transforming stale bread, croissants or brioche into bread and butter pudding or french toast; or incorporating plain cakes into trifles and other layered desserts. Communicate to customers that you are not throwing away products but re-using in other ways. More and more people these days are keen to be kinder to the planet and change their eating habits to more sustainable options accordingly.

A Cornish bakery offers a ‘Cornish Pudding’- a take on bread and butter pudding in which leftover pastries are layered with custard, berries and white chocolate. This is baked and then sliced into portions.

Several big-name retailers are repurposing unsold bread into frozen garlic bread and bread and butter pudding, even olive oil crostini, all contributing to significant reduction in bread waste.

2. Recycle ingredients

On a similar wave to the previous point, think about completely transforming your old products into raw ingredients for new products. This could include grinding down stale bread and repurposing it as a grain for producing freshly baked goods.

A leading French bakery grinds their unsold bread into very fine breadcrumbs to incorporate into their innovative cookie recipe. With this, they have launched the new cookie brand, which within its first year managed to save around 111kg of wasted bread.

The same principle can be seen in Waste Bread, created from day-old sourdough loaves which are made into breadcrumbs before turning them into a porridge-like mixture. This makes up 1/3 of a fresh sourdough dough, which is then baked and resold as a fresh loaf.

3. Sell leftover baked goods at a reduced price

Selling products at a reduced price – not rocket science but use it as a marketing tool such as a Canadian bakery which sells ‘Cake Scraps in a Sad Box’. Essentially this is a box filled with a random assortment of cake scraps and various fillings and frostings leftover from whatever they have produced that week. As long as the products are in date, this is a fun and innovative idea.

4. Collaborate with apps that aim to reduce food waste

New companies are emerging, that aim to work with food businesses and bakeries to reduce their food waste from unsold products.

These include an app that allows customers to rescue ‘magic bags’ of surplus unsold food. For a reduced price, customers buy mystery boxes of whatever the business has leftover at the end of the day. This allows the business to reduce waste and make some money on products that would otherwise have to be disposed.

A London-based company uses a surplus bakery subscription box scheme where they collect unsold treats from various local bakeries and make them into treat boxes for events, office parties and pop-ups the next day. They also donate their profits to child hunger charities to help fight food poverty. 

5. Collaborate with your customers!

Setting up subscriptions with customers for baked products would allow for more accurate forecasting. Better still, getting customers to sign up to receive products that are unsold at the end of the day could allow you to make some extra money whilst dramatically reducing food waste.

‘Wonky Bread’ subscriptions aim to sell bread from overproduction or loaves that would not have passed quality requirements in terms of appearance and size. Additionally, for every box sold, some companies donate a loaf of bread to food banks to further tackle food waste.

A Cardiff based bakery that sells products in local cafes and markets has come up with a clever idea to help manage waste. Fluctuations in sales can be hard to predict so they have various customers who have signed up to a scheme to receive leftover bread. Whenever there’s a surplus of bread at the end of the day, these customers are contacted and are then able to collect these loaves and pay a donation for them.