No crumb left behind!
There are many familiar phrases to do with waste – old ones like “Waste Not, Want Not”, “One man’s waste is another man’s treasure”, or “Waste is Only waste if we Waste it” (Will.I.Am !), but all have the same meaning more or less. Protect our resources, don’t throw away money, reuse things or put them to alternative uses. The same goes for food, and bread in particular.
Every year, one third of all food produced ends up being wasted. Plans for the new National Food Waste Prevention Roadmap were launched in November 2022 and the intention is that this will help reduce food waste by 50% by 2030. In June 2023, the Food Waste Charter was launched.
Food waste is a serious social and environmental issue, whether in your own kitchen or on a national level. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that Ireland generates about 800,00 tonnes of food waste every year. Households were the biggest producers of food waste, accounting for about 1/3 of the total, followed by the food and beverage manufacturing and processing sector, and he remainder came from restaurants and food service (about 1/4).
What is good, however, is that people are becoming more aware of the value and impact of what they are throwing away, money in the bin, literally! People have an increasingly strong sense of their role in preventing food waste and expect retailers, restaurants and manufacturers to act on prevention too.
Take a moment and think about the foods you throw way most often – fruit and vegetables are probably high on your list. What else? Bread probably features too, with the ends of sliced pans at the back of your bread bin, or crusts, or bread left overs. So what can you do to (a) stop producing the waste in the first place and (b) use up all the bread you have?
Our Top Tips:
- Store bread at the right temperature- bread should be stored at room temperature (and not in the fridge!) in order to keep it fresh.
- Clean out your bread bin from time to time, if you use one, as crumbs lost in its depths may eventually become mouldy and the mould spores could spread to your lovely fresh loaf.
- Our sliced pans are wrapped in wax paper or soft plastic, which helps to keep them lovely and fresh, so be sure to fold down the wrapper or tie the bag with a clip or peg, or just put a knot in it in order to keep your bread fresh for as long as possible.
- If you find that you don’t use a full loaf as quickly as you anticipated and are left with slices that just aren’t fresh enough for your sandwich you can always make toast!
- Alternatively, start buying half loaves, or take out half of the slices from a large pan and freeze them. Bread freezes really well and defrosts very quickly too.
- You can use bread that’s a few days old to make croutons – just cut the bread into cubes and fry them lightly or toast them under the grill for a healthier option. Melba toast might sound like a 1970’s dinner-party throwback, but it’s another good way of using bread, and it makes a good alternative to crackers. It can be served with pate, or soup, or simply buttered!
- Panzanella is a delicious Tuscan bread and tomato salad dish that you can make to use up your leftover bread.
- Bread makes a thickener for soups and sauces. Cut into cubes for soup and break them apart in the broth to give it a stick-to-your-ribs quality.
- Day old bread is also ideal for making bread and butter pudding or French toast – in fact it’s better than freshly baked bread in these recipes!
- Of course, one of the best uses of bread that is a few days old is to make breadcrumbs – it is so handy having breadcrumbs already made and in the freezer, so take the slices and heels at the end of the loaf, blitz them up into breadcrumbs and freeze them.
- Ireland has committed to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include a target of halving per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses by 2030. Reducing food waste has positive social and environmental impacts. An estimated one million tonnes of food waste is generated throughout the food system in Ireland annually. Food companies, including IBBA members, work continuously to minimise food waste in their businesses, by monitoring their production processes to identify inefficiencies and exploring new ways to use waste and by-products.
Members of the Irish Bread bakers’ Association are equally mindful about reducing waste and are always looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. For example, Brennans Bread sends their bread waste to the pig feed industry.
Finally, a bit of forward planning is probably the smartest way to reduce your food waste. Only buy what you need, when you need it. We hope you find our tips helpful in reducing your bread waste and saving you a few euros at the same time.
For more reading:
Environmental Protection Agency – Stop Food Waste - Bread – No Knead to Waste it! - https://stopfoodwaste.ie/storage-cooking/storage/bread-blog-bread-basics
Eco Thrifty Living - 20 ways to stop wasting bread! https://ecothriftyliving.com/2017/02/20-ways-stop-wasting-bread.html