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Why is bread Britain's most wasted food?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:29 am
by jloaf
British households throw away 4.4m tonnes of edible food a year, estimates suggest - and bread is the most wasted provision of all. But why?

Interesting article. Also, I had no idea there was a Real Bread Campaign...

PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:14 pm
by Gill
Bread never gets thrown out in my household - I bake my own and it doesn't get a chance to go stale :) .

I wonder if people who buy supermarket bread purchase an excess because it's better to throw away any surplus than it is to run out? After all, it's just a wrapper for that slimy ham and standard chicken which is also flavourless.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:04 pm
by Spuddy
I agree Gill, we never buy bread only make our own and it is never wasted.
If my wife bought a bag of "chorleywood" process bread I think my natural instinct would be to put it straight in the bin. It's all a matter of appreciation of quality, I guess it's doesn't seem as "sinful" to dump something that has a lower perceived value.

The Real Bread campaign is progressing and helping people understand more about traditional and artisanal bread making, the CAMRA campaign did the same for real ales and I see in the news that sales of "fizzy pop" beers have declined in the UK as a result. Maybe the same will happen to bread and we stop wasting so much as a nation.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:52 pm
by saucisson
I blame the £1.35 each or two for £2 deals that the big chains seem to have on nearly all the time.

I confess we buy it for making sarnies... :oops:

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:03 am
by Gill
A loaf costs £1 on special offer :shock: ? I never knew it was that expensive nowadays. I would say it costs me no more than 40p a loaf to make my own and it takes next to no time, using the Dan Lepard method. Strong white flour only costs 60p for 1.5kg from Asda, then there's the yeast at 98p/100g (about 7p per loaf) plus a little salt and sugar. If you're going to be in the house anyway, then baking your own bread is a no-brainer from the economic point of view. Heck, it would be a no-brainer from the health and taste points of view too, even if it wasn't such an economic winner :) .

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:50 am
by jenny_haddow
I don't think I've bought bread for about 20 years, other than the occasional baguette when I'm in France, and I sometimes make those. I also grind my own flour from beautiful organic wheat that I buy in 20kilo buckets. The economics are obviously favourable, but the main factor is the taste of a good loaf, and none is wasted here. People often question how I have the time to make my own bread. Well, I use a bread machine which takes me 5 minuted to load and seconds to unload, and no need to drive to the shops if we run out. I have a disability that makes it difficult for me to knead dough so the machine does that for me too if I'm making rolls or pizza.
The food that is wasted in our society is deplorable. Recently I was looking through the reduced counter in a big supermarket and found a side of salmon with no label on it. I took it to the fish counter to ask for a price and the guy told me that because it had no date label it would have to be binned! I said I would be pleased to buy it anyway (it was quite fresh), but apparently he wasn't able to sell it to me. I wonder how much perfectly good unsold fresh food is dumped by the large supermarkets?!


PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:06 pm
by yotmon
Reminds me of when I was in Tescos. A lady behind the counter had just finished carving the remaining ham from the bone. She placed the bone in a recepticle, so I asked if I could have it to make a broth for pea soup. She declined, saying that they were not allowed to give the bones away or sell them, as it was considered a health hazard ( might choke on it !).

I also use a bread maker, but only as a dough mixer - just throw everything in and its ready in 90 mins. Perfect for pizza making, or even flat breads cooked in a heavy dry frying pan. I must be lucky, as my local co-op doesn't sell much bread flour, so when the 'sell by date' is closing in, they sell it off for 15p a bag instead of £1.50, so I make a killing, taking as many bags as posible.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:32 pm
by salumi512
jenny_haddow wrote:I wonder how much perfectly good unsold fresh food is dumped by the large supermarkets?!


Around here most of that bread goes to the soup kitchens for homeless people. I remember when I grew up, there used to be a day-old bread store where people could get bread and dairy that was a day or two from expiration at a big discount.

I wonder if something similar happens in your area.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:41 pm
by yotmon
Don't think so - once the 'sell-by date' expires, it get thrown into the skip. I don't think it can go for animal food either, probably goes straight to the land-fill, total waste !
Just checked a bag of 00 'pasta flour' I used yesterday, seeing as I'd run out of strong bread flour for my pizza base. The sell-by date is 19/3/2009, so in 2 days it will be 3 years past its best - but still tasting good, as long as you store it correctly !

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:41 am
by Gill
A good bread machine is well worth having. Their design is so much better nowadays than when they first hit the market. Although I much prefer to make bread by hand, it's very convenient to be able to chuck all the ingredients in a pan and forget about it. For making pizza dough, I do like an old Hinari I bought many years ago, even though I have a whiz-bang Panasonic. It just seems to come out better than when I make it by hand or in the Panasonic.

Has anyone else noticed how the range of bread flours in the supermarkets has declined recently? You used to be able to buy granary flour in our local Tesco and Asda, but no longer. Fortunately, a baker attends our local farmer's market and he supplies a wonderful range of flours. It's yet another reason not to visit Asda or Tesco - I seem to be shopping more and more at Aldi nowadays and going to independent retailers to top up on items which aren't available there.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:19 pm
by Ruralidle
If you bake quite a lot of bread Shipton Mill ( ) does a great range of flours and free delivery over 25kg total weight. I buy 16kg No 4 organic white flour for £15.50 and use it in about 4 months (along with spelt, rye and others).

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:56 pm
by Gill
That's worth knowing about! Many thanks for the link :) .

Roast chicken on rye for tea tonight - yummy :) .

PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:29 pm
by vagreys
We use our bread maker for mixing and rising, only. It makes a perfect environment, particularly in winter. Then, we form the loaves and bake them on a stone in the oven. We rarely have anything left of a loaf long enough for it to spoil.

Food waste is a huge problem throughout the industrialized world. It isn't just our own food that we waste, either. We import food from other countries to waste, too. Consider how much seafood is exported to Japan and how much fresh fish is binned after only a few hours in the market, there.

We have to be more rational about our food supplies and sources.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:26 am
by jloaf
Lots of interesting replies here.

I too have a bread maker - it introduced me to the delights of home made bread, but gets used less and less now as I prefer to make it myself.
Still used when a "quick" loaf is needed.

Interesting to hear about the flour. I was always under the impression that flour was better "fresh" so I've never bought in bulk. I find a good range of flours in the big supermarkets, but would much prefer to order from a mill if I knew it would last.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:53 am
by ped
I try to make as much of our bread as possible but do occasionally get a granary loaf, what isn't eaten is not wasted though, the hens get our waste :).
I thought bread makers were really heavy on the electricity?