Surplus and waste stock can be a drain on bakery businesses of all sizes in addition to being an environmental concern.

The Real Bread Campaign has this week unveiled new guide ‘No Loaf Lost’ to help bakeries save money on ingredients and waste disposal, as well as reducing the environmental impact and boosting a business’s reputation for acting responsibly.

Here, The Real Bread Campaign’s co-ordinator Chris Young shares five tips on how bakeries can start reducing waste and surplus.

Measure and monitor

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure. How much of what is leftover or wasted, where in the process does this happen and why? What daily, weekly, monthly and yearly sales and surplus patterns are there?”

Plan and pledge

“Consider promoting and doing more baking to order. Limiting loaf types, checking external factors like the weather forecast, road closures, what sporting events are on and looking at your sales patterns. Training staff to avoid surplus and waste-generating errors. Shrinking your display space as loaves sell, rather than baking more to fill it.”

Work and communicate with staff

“Build surplus and waste reduction into the culture of your business. Involve staff members in making your plan and help them to be as proud of minimising surplus as of making great loaves. Set reduction targets and consider using them in performance-related pay.”

Go public

“Communicate with customers what you’re doing and why. Create incentives to pre-order and urgency to buy popular, limited-run loaves early. Suggest alternatives to sold-out loaves. Make them feel good about supporting a bakery that’s busy feeding bellies, not bins.”

Review, re-tweak and retrain

“Check you progress at regular intervals, adjusting your plan and training accordingly.”