Back June 5, 2024

5 ways you can shop and eat bread sustainably

Index: 

Introduction 

1: Understand the flour & the agricultural practices 

Discover the differences between organic and regenerative farming and how they affect our planet.

2: Assess the carbon footprint of your deliveries 

Think beyond just where your ingredients come from – consider how they get to your door too.

3: Reduce bread waste

Find out some eye-opening facts about bread waste and get handy tips from us on how to waste less bread. We’ll also spill the beans on our own efforts to tackle bread waste!

4: Choose eco-friendly packaging

Dive into alternatives to plastic packaging and why it matters.

5: Support independent bakeries & start-ups

It’s not just about being green – it’s about backing your community too. Learn how supporting independent businesses can make a big difference, all while ticking off those 3 pillars of sustainability.

Conclusion

Introduction

Did you know that food is linked to about a third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions? (¹) And that bread is one of the most wasted food items globally? (²) The food system urgently needs to change. Experts commonly suggest increasing consumption of complex carbohydrates like sourdough and incorporating more plant-based foods while reducing meat and fish intake. However, it’s also crucial to consider numerous other factors.

A third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are tied to food?

People increasingly tout sourdough bread for its health benefits like improved digestion and nutrient absorption, but often neglect to discuss its sustainability. This article explores 5 ways Good In Bread aims to be more sustainable, focusing on the 3 main pillars of sustainability. To learn specifically about the health benefits of sourdough, read our article on the 5 key benefits of sourdough bread.

Join us in the fight against bread waste and help us try to shake up the bakery industry. Together, we can make a significant impact on the health of our planet and our communities.

 1: Understand the flour & the agricultural practices 

Understanding agricultural practices is crucial for making sustainable food choices. According to FAO, agriculture and land use are major contributors to food-related greenhouse gases. Therefore, it’s essential to prioritise eco-friendly farming methods.

Here at Good In Bread, we recognise the importance of sustainable farming practices. That’s why we carefully source our flour from Shipton Mill, known for its commitment to regenerative organic farming and the Slow Food movement. As a result, our products are tasty, healthy and eco-friendly, supporting soil health and biodiversity.

The flour used in our bread is both organic & regenerative. The better choice for your health and the planet!

Note: While some flours on the market are organic, the flour in our bread goes a step further. It’s both organic and regenerative. This unique combination ensures our flour meets the highest organic standards and supports soil and ecosystem health.

Now, let’s delve into what regenerative and organic agriculture are and why they’re crucial for reshaping our food systems.

Regenerative Agriculture

Regenerative farming is a sustainable agriculture approach that focuses on restoring soil health, enhancing biodiversity, and improving ecosystem resilience. Farmers who adhere to regenerative practices use methods like crop rotation, cover cropping and minimal tillage. These methods help regenerate degraded land, increase soil carbon sequestration and promote long-term sustainability.

Soil health

Regenerative agriculture focuses on restoring soil health

Organic Agriculture

Organic farming also plays a significant role in sustainable agriculture. Certified organic products are produced without synthetic chemicals. Organic farmers use natural pesticides and fertilisers. They ban fossil fuel-based nitrogen fertilisers and promote crop diversity.

The Soil Association, states that organic farming cuts pesticide use by 98% compared to conventional farming, reducing pollution and protecting ecosystems.

Therefore, both regenerative and organic farming reduce agriculture’s environmental impact but they differ in approaches and certification standards.

Similarities and differences between organic and regenerative farming methods:

Understanding the similarities and differences between organic and regenerative farming can help you make informed decisions when choosing sustainably produced food products.

AspectOrganic FarmingRegenerative Farming
Core PrincipleAvoids synthetic chemicals Focuses on restoring and enhancing ecosystem health
Soil HealthEmphasises natural soil fertility methodsPrioritises soil regeneration and biodiversity
Pesticides and FertilisersUses natural or non-synthetic pesticides and fertilisersMinimises all inputs, often beyond organic standards
CertificationCertified by organic standards No universal certification, but practices can be certified
BiodiversityEncourages crop diversity and natural pest controlActively increases biodiversity above and below ground
Carbon SequestrationMay not explicitly focus on carbon sequestrationExplicitly aims to capture and store atmospheric carbon
Tillage PracticesMay include some tillageEmphasises minimal or no-till practices
Animal WelfareHigh standards, humane treatmentSimilar high standards, often with a greater emphasis on ecosystem integration
Cover CropsUsed to prevent erosion and improve soil healthIntegral part of the system to enhance soil structure and fertility
Water ManagementEfficient use and conservation practicesEnhanced water cycle management and soil water retention
Economic FocusOften premium market pricing for certified productsFocus on long-term sustainability and resilience of farming systems
Consumer RecognitionWidely recognised and trusted by consumersGaining recognition, but less widely known than organic

2: Assess the carbon footprint of your deliveries 

One key factor to consider is the delivery method of your food.

To reduce our environmental impact, we deliver using PackFleet vans, which are electric and carbon-neutral. PackFleet is a certified B Corp, meeting high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. 

This is a list of reasons why we choose PackFleet to deliver Good In Bread to you:

  1. Certified B Corp.
  2. Charge their electric vehicles with 100% green electricity from renewable sources.
  3. Plant trees to be carbon neutral.
  4. Smarter routing system to save energy on every mile. They have a proprietary routing technology to create efficient journeys that cut power consumption.
  5. Constantly strive to be more sustainable. 

Good in Bread’s holistic approach minimises our carbon footprint and promotes sustainability at every stage, from sourcing to delivery.

3: Reduce bread waste

In the UK alone, households throw away approximately 7 million tonnes of food waste annually (³). Bread ranks among the top wasted foods, with over 240 million slices discarded each year (). 

Bread is consistently ranked among the top wasted foods! 

That’s why we tirelessly strive to curb this trend. Here are our main strategies for reducing bread waste:

  1. Made to Order: We make our bread to order, ensuring that every loaf has a dedicated home to go to.
  2. Flexible Subscriptions: Customers can customise their orders for one-off deliveries or opt for weekly, fortnightly, or monthly subscriptions. They also have the option to pause their subscription if they’re going on holiday.
  3. Storage Solutions: We sell linen bread bags to help preserve bread freshness. Subscribe to get a free linen bread bag with your first order! You can also choose to buy your bread sliced in compostable freezer bags under “Customise Your Order” to keep it fresh longer.
  4. Educational Blogs: Our bread care blogs offer tips on how to store and freeze bread effectively. 
  5. Stale Bread Recipes: We provide creative recipes for using stale or old bread. We also provide recipes using sourdough discard if you prefer to bake at home.
  6. Sourdough Bread: All our bread is sourdough, which lasts considerably longer than yeasted bread. Indeed, sourdough’s natural preservative qualities, like acidity and fermentation, can inhibit mould growth and extend shelf life ().

4: Choose eco-friendly packaging

Packaging plays a crucial role in the sustainability of products. Opt for items with minimal or eco-friendly packaging. Reusable containers, compostable packaging and bulk buying can help reduce the amount of waste generated.

At Good In Bread, we strive to use sustainable packaging to minimise our environmental impact. Here’s how we approach packaging:

  1. Minimal Use of Plastic: We never use plastic for our bread packaging. Instead, we opt for materials that are more environmentally friendly and easier to recycle or compost. The vast majority of our pantry items are also plastic free. However, there one or two exceptions such as the orange juice.
  2. Eco-Friendly Materials: Our packaging is mostly home compostable, making it easy for you to dispose of responsibly. We choose to use home compostable materials whenever possible, as they break down into natural components without requiring energy-intensive recycling processes. To find out more, read our blog entitled our most eco-friendly packaging yet.
  3. Natural Colours: We avoid using bright colours in our packaging because manufacturing them often involves harmful chemicals and processes. By using natural, subdued colours, we further reduce our environmental footprint.

By choosing sustainable packaging, we reduce waste and support a healthier planet. This is just one of the many ways we commit to promoting sustainability in every aspect of our business.

Why we choose compostable packaging over biodegradable 

We decided to change our packaging from biodegradable to compostable for the following reasons:

  1. Faster Degradation: Compostable materials take much less time to break down than biodegradable materials ().
  2. No Harmful Residues: Compostable materials don’t leave any microplastics. Whereas, biodegradable materials can leave harmful microplastics that endanger marine life ().
  3. Soil Replenishment: Compostable materials replenish the soil with nutrients ().

If you want to know how to compost your packaging effectively, read this step-by-step guide.

Top tips for avoiding plastic when shopping

Using a reusable tote bag instead of single-use plastic bags is essential—it’s a simple way to reduce waste and contribute to the planet. Bring your own mesh bags for loose vegetables and fruit at the farmer’s market, avoiding flimsy paper bags that quickly break.

5: Support independent bakeries & start-ups 

At Good In Bread, sustainability is at the heart of our mission. We believe that being sustainable is not only about the environment but also about supporting our community and fostering economic viability. Our approach is grounded in the three pillars of sustainability: environmental conservation, social responsibility and economic support.

Environmental Conservation, Social Responsibility and Economic Support

One of the key ways we contribute to sustainability is by supporting local suppliers. We partner with London-based bakeries for our breads, pastries, and sweet treats, and small start-up companies for many of our pantry items. This commitment to sourcing locally reduces the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation. It also ensures fresher and more eco-friendly products while fostering community connections.

Our partnerships with other London-based sustainable start-ups further highlight our dedication to supporting ethical practices. Examples include Verena’s Kitchen for nut butters, Good & Proper Tea for both herbal and caffeinated tea, and Lucocoa for hot chocolate. These start-ups, like us, all belong to Buy Women Built, showcasing the diversity and innovation within our community. Together, we aim to build a supportive network of businesses that prioritise sustainability, benefiting our customers and the planet.

Conclusion

Choosing Good In Bread means more than just enjoying delicious bread—it means supporting a mission dedicated to making a positive impact on the environment, society and the economy. Sustainability encompasses a holistic approach that considers economic, social and environmental factors, extending beyond individual health or immediate environmental concerns.

Exploring sustainable eating at home is crucial. We must also consider the broader impact of our food choices when dining out. The culinary world is changing, with the rise of green star restaurants prioritising sustainability. By following these tips and embracing sustainability both at home and when dining out, we can create positive change.

For deeper insights into sustainable food systems and their interconnectedness, we recommend one of Colin Sage’s books entitled A Research Agenda for Food Systems. Let’s commit to making mindful food choices and supporting sustainability. Together, we can strive for a more resilient and equitable food future for all!

FYI: We are constantly striving to be more sustainable. It’s a learning curve for us, but we’re making progress! We’ve already made some changes, especially with our packaging, and we’re not stopping there. We’re dedicated to making further progress. 

Follow us on LinkedIn to keep updated about our sustainability efforts. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or feedback. Your input is invaluable. Help guide us on our journey to becoming more sustainable!