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oast was founded in 2015 by Toastmaster Tristram Stuart. He’s an award-winning author and campaigner on the environmental and social impacts of food production – check out his TED talk here. He also set up the charity Feedback, which aims to put a stop to food waste.
Tristram met the guys behind the Brussels Beer Project. Their bread-based Babylone inspired him to create a delicious beer that could tackle bread waste at an industrial level, whilst raising awareness of food waste globally and raising funds for Feedback. We brewed our first batch in Hackney, London and launched to coincide with being featured on Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty’s Friday Night Feast in January 2016.
Where do profits go?
We have pledged that our profits will go to the charity Feedback, which aims to halve food waste by 2025. We want our impact to be greater than what we can do alone. So whilst we’re directly tackling bread waste by including surplus in our beer, we’re enabling Feedback to do much more.
Feedback leads a global movement against food waste, working with governments, businesses and civil society to catalyse change in social attitudes and demonstrate innovative solutions to tackle food waste. Its campaigns include: Feeding the 5000, Gleaning Network, The Pig Idea, Stop Dumping, and the FSE Network.
Globally, we are licensing our brand and working with local food charities. In addition to a contribution to Toast, the local breweries will donate a share of their profits. In South Africa, we are supporting Soil For Life. In Brazil, we are supporting Gastromotiva.
As a start-up, we are not yet profitable, but forecast to return our first profits in 2019. We forecast we will donate over £3.6m to food waste organisations by 2020.
Why is food waste a problem?
We waste 1/3 of all food produced – that’s 1.3 billion tons every year. Food waste accounts for 3.3Gt CO2e (the 3rd top emitter after USA and China), has a blue water footprint of 250 km3 (3 times the volume of Lake Geneva) and a land use footprint of 1.4bn hectares (28% of worlds agricultural land area).
In the UK, we waste about 15 million tons of food, with bread being the worst offender. Nearly half (44%) of bread produced in the UK is thrown away. This doesn’t include bread that is redirected to food charities – that stays in our food chain so isn’t ‘waste’.
Why is bread wasted? Bakeries overproduce to ensure they’ll have enough stock for their customers. It’s a little unpredictable so they inevitably have loaves left at the end of the day. Supermarkets want shelves to always be full and dispose of edible bread that is past the sell-by or best-before date – both indicators of quality not safety. Sandwich manufacturers discard the heel end of loaves because we don’t eat crusts. So unfortunately it’s not as simple as baking less bread – we’ve got to change consumer expectations of having abundant quantities of day-fresh bread.
We also waste vast quantities in our homes – 24 million slices of bread every day – because we buy too much.