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Better data means more 'dough' for beth brownings bakery

A free onsite assessment and Scottish Government grant prevents food waste and saves just over £2,000 year on year

Beth Brownings Bakery, a family run bakery based in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, wanted to modernise operations using tracking software to prevent avoidable food waste and save money.

Zero Waste Scotland initially assisted the bakery by conducting a site visit and food and drink opportunity assessment; and then through the provision of a Scottish Government grant which funded waste management software, staff training and generated data to measure waste and target improvements.  

Results include:

  • Eliminating nearly a quarter of a tonne of food waste per year
  • Reducing carbon emissions by over 840 kilograms per year
  • Savings of £2,100, every year

Beth Brownings Bakery first heard about our food waste prevention programme through the Scottish Bakers Association. It provided the ideal opportunity to reduce a key business concern - the quantity of food waste being generated in the bakery.

They contacted us and arranged for a free food and drink opportunity assessment. One of our food waste reduction specialists visited the site to speak with management and staff, tour the facility to understand the processes involved, and observe the where, when, why, and how of food waste generation at the bakery.

Following the fact-finding assessment, we complied a detailed report for Beth Brownings Bakery. We put a figure on their food waste which was approximately 2,300 kg per year. Further, we identified that almost 40% of this food waste was generated in the form of unsold goods, which were not fresh enough to be sold two days in a row. The report provided a range of practical recommendations on how to prevent this food waste from occurring.

One recommendation stood out as a starting point in the bakery’s food waste reduction challenge.  This was to utilise the sales data to help the bakery better match production with expected sales. Unsold goods are a key food waste generator for all bakeries so it is important to reduce this waste stream because aside from the cost of waste uplift, it’s also a waste of all the additional resources used to make them, such as ingredients, labour, water and energy.

Before participating in the Zero Waste Scotland programme, the bakery was operating with limited sales information due to dated Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) tills and a training gap with staff using the available software.

As a priority the business needed to upgrade its EPOS system and train staff, but as with other small independent bakeries, the main barrier to making changes was the cost associated with the upgrade and training. That’s where the Scottish Government grant funding came in handy.

We assisted the bakery in applying for the Waste Prevention Implementation Fund, which was supported by the report. Funding of just over £3,000 afforded three new EPOS tills and a training session with the software manufacturer, to unlock its full potential.

The software uses information such as previous sales figures, the time taken for items to sell out, and the quantity of wastage. Combining this data, the software provides a prediction of the number of items which should be produced, to optimise production and minimise unsold goods. The software will:

  • Produce waste reports for the shop and wholesale customers
  • Improve sales
  • Optimise raw material purchases

Barrie MacSween, Bakery Advisor at Beth Brownings Bakery had this to say: “The first step in tackling food waste is understanding it. Unlocking the full potential of our technology onsite has helped us to do that”.

The modest investment will result in direct savings of £2,100 per year from better production, stock management and overall food waste prevention.  The new system also provides information to tackle other food waste issues, such as excess pie dough production. With the tracking software in place, exact quantities of waste dough are being logged and timely actions targeted. 

The cost saving results have been immediately obvious. Less waste means more savings. Or as we like to say – less is more, especially when it comes to dough.

Do you want to reduce your food waste and save money? Inspired by Beth Brownings Bakery success? Contact our Food Waste Reduction team for support for your business, on 01786 433 930 or email food.drink@zerowastescotland.org.uk 

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