STORY: How to turn your bakery waste into profit

Surplus ‘wonky bread’ online delivery platform Earth & Wheat is actively looking to partner with UK independent bakeries in order to turn their food waste into profit and help save the planet.

The green-tech brand, launched by university student James Eid, has so far ‘rescued’ more than 40 tonnes of surplus bread which would have otherwise been binned due to size, appearance or overproduction.

Eid, 20, a fourth-generation baker at family-owned business Signature Flatbreads, set up Earth & Wheat as the world’s first ‘wonky bread’ subscription service back in March.

The Earth & Wheat boxes are currently packed with a mixed selection of deliciously-crafted ultra-fresh ‘wonky’ crumpets, pancakes, tortillas, pittas, focaccias, flatbreads and naan breads.

Using his access to the established bakery Eid’s plan is to fight food waste at the production source, before bread even reaches the shops. By redistributing surplus bread from his own family’s bakeries through Earth & Wheat, the young entrepreneur has built up a strong customer base of subscribers – or ‘wonky warriors’ as they are known - with over 10,000 orders processed in 12 weeks.

But Eid says Earth & Wheat is ready for the next stage of its growth plan, with the aim now to connect other UK bakeries directly with customers looking to reduce food waste.

Eid said: “It had always been the plan that once Earth & Wheat had an established customer base we would push on and onboard other bakeries around the UK and, I’m happy to say we’re now at this exciting stage.

“We’re looking to partner with environmentally-conscious bakeries who are interested in reducing their food waste and turning that loss into profit. We’ve invested in software with integrated logistics which provides a streamlined and efficient way to rescue bread from bakeries all over the UK, delivering to our Earth & Wheat loyal community.

“We want to reduce, and one day eliminate unnecessary food waste at the point of production. That has been our goal from the very start, and now partnering with more bakeries, providing our solution, is the next step in Earth & Wheat’s journey.”

Like all businesses that produce food, bakeries have a legal and moral responsibility to dispose of food waste correctly, so it does not contaminate the environment. Bakeries must only use authorised waste carriers and many reportedly do not have a stock management system in place to reduce food waste.

“Waste is typically a loss – a loss to our planet, and a loss to the pockets of hard-working bakers,” said Eid. “Earth & Wheat provides a solution, and changes the way we value food – what was once a loss can become a win for our planet, our society and the bottom-line for our bakery partners.

“Around 16 percent of food waste is at the point of production, before it even reaches the shops – it’s this invisible waste which Earth & Wheat fights – and we’re the only ones doing it at scale.”

Eid believes his surplus bread distribution platform offers bakeries a practical solution for reducing food waste which will also improve their bottom line.

He said: “Earth & Wheat is striving to reduce food waste in this country and by onboarding new bakeries to rescue their waste we can make a real difference - distributing bread that would otherwise been thrown away. Our solution is profitable for our partners, and a far better option for the environment.
“One of the biggest concerns for bakeries is food waste, and the figures we see are eyewatering. Many companies have to report what they’re doing to help fight climate change and being part of Earth & Wheat would be a great thing to highlight in their reports. If food waste were an emitter, it would be the third largest country after the USA and China.

“The initiative battles food waste in the first stages of the supply chain, before it even reaches the shops and the home. The Earth & Wheat community is growing from strength to strength, rescuing several tonnes of perfectly wonky ultra-fresh bread from going into landfill every day because we believe no good food should go to waste!”

There is an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted every year according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations which is 30 percent of global production meaning one third of all the food produced is wasted.

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