A grim look at food waste in the UK bakery sector

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Every baker in the UK can join the movement to fight food waste and feel good. Pic: TooGoodToGo
Every baker in the UK can join the movement to fight food waste and feel good. Pic: TooGoodToGo

Related tags: Food waste, Too Good To Go, app, Bakery sector, Uk

A survey into food waste in the UK bakery sector has found that while food waste is certainly a real issue, action to reduce it is sadly not a main item on the menu.

The research – commissioned by surplus food app Too Good To Go​ at the beginning of 2021 – found nine out of 10 bakery employees are aware of how much food their business wastes each day. However, 71% of the respondents state their workplace does not have a stock management system in place to reduce food waste.

The study further revealed that a third of these employees claim that morale is impacted by this fact.

The biggest reason for most of the food waste in the bakery sector are the strict health and safety guidelines to protect consumer health, according to 35% of respondents. Thirty three percent maintain the relatively short shelf life of products play a big role in waste, while 31% say the weather plays in a role in demand.

Twenty eight percent of those working in the sector fingered ready-made sandwiches as the biggest culprit of food waste, while an accompanying survey among consumers found that RTE sandwiches are the nation’s least favourite item to purchase from their local bakery. Only 15% admit to purchasing them frequently.

Employees care deeply

“Our research found that employees care deeply about wasting food. This is not surprising considering the hours of time and energy that go into creating perfect pastries, crusty loaves and delicious cupcakes,”​ said Paschalis Loucaides, UK MD of Too Good To Go.

The former Tesco marketing director added that if practices continue as they are, the team and resource costs of throwing away food will take their toll on bakery businesses.

Too Good To Go by numbers:

  • 15 countries
  • 64 million meals saved globally
  • 33 million app installs globally
  • 77,000 partner stores globally
  • Became a registered B-Corp in 2020

Loucaides joined Too Good to Go in September 2020 to lead its UK team in driving its key partnerships and growing its number of consumer app users.

Too Good To Go was started in 2016 with a simple mission to make sure all food gets eaten, not wasted. The app connects local diners with businesses that have fresh food that remains uneaten. Today, thousands of Magic Bags are rescued from supermarkets, restaurants and bakeries every day. The disruptive movement is proud to list Nestle, Danone and Arla among the brands helping it to make waves.

The app also powers Too Good To Go’s wider efforts to drive a food waste movement working with schools, industries and governments to build a planet-friendly food system.

“By introducing training programmes, adopting new tools, implementing technology solutions and building them into operations guidelines, the bakery sector can rise to the challenge and lead the way in reducing our nation’s food waste footprint,”​ added Loucaides.

Related topics: Bakery, Market Trends

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