Richard Smith, owner of Food Paper, explores how bakers can get more bang for their buck through better management of baking paper



Paper is a global commodity that is traded on weight, and like many global indices currently, paper prices are rising. However, you can self-audit your paper to ensure you get the best value by following these four steps:

1. Reuse your baking paper. Some papers can be reused several times over. Most paper specifications will give usage guidelines of 220 degrees for 30 minutes but this is completely dependent on how much product covers the sheet or on the type of product being baked. For example, mixes with a high sugar content will adhere to the surface of the paper and require a higher specification.

Cinnamon buns on baking paper and tray in the oven

Source: Getty Images

Bakers should therefore challenge their supplier to suggest a solution that best suits their bakery processes. From a ‘single use’ economic paper to a high-performance grade that can be reused many times, there could be a more cost-effective solution.

If you do reuse your paper, can you improve this by extending further? If your current paper gives you six bakes but a premium paper would give you 12 and costs 20% more, surely this represents a good deal?

2. Question the supply chain. Where is your paper is coming from? How many layers of businesses are involved? Save money by buying direct.

Start looking at your baking paper differently; don’t see it as just a disposable item that you seem to pay more for every time you order

3. Buy the specification and weight that best suits your process. Ask your supplier to suggest alternatives that work for you. What do those numbers and letters mean – 39gsm SGP/ GP/VP/SVP/34GR… do you know? Unlocking this code and ensuring you have the correct specification for your process, together with reducing the weight of the paper used, could offset your last price increase. Checking the weight of paper used and asking the supplier if a lighter alternative exists – like moving from 39 to 35gsm – could represent a 10.2% material saving.

4. Recycle at the end of life. It is also surprising how many businesses believe they must send baking paper to landfill. Many claim that the silicone coating prevents recycling, but the truth is that the amount of silicone by mass and density does not contaminate pulped fibres. Some food deposits may present a problem. However, there are alternatives, such as compostable routes for baking papers. What costs could be saved by avoiding landfill?

Start looking at your baking paper differently; don’t see it as just a disposable item that you seem to pay more for every time you order – look upon it as a piece of technology that facilitates untapped value to your business.