Home News To stop wastage, bakers must ‘use their bread

To stop wastage, bakers must ‘use their bread

by Celia

In recent times, Chinese social media has been abuzz with discussions surrounding the fate of unsold bread in bakeries. Customers have raised concerns about bakeries discarding pricey bread and pastries as closing time approaches, opting for waste over discounts.

Some patrons express frustration over the high prices of bakery items, with bread loaves often exceeding fifty or sixty yuan, making finding affordable options challenging.

The root of this issue lies in a production and sales model characterized by exorbitant prices on one end and significant wastage on the other.

The Problem of Wastage: High Rates and Causes

Bread, unlike other perishable items like ice cream, has a short shelf life when displayed at room temperature. As a result, unsold bread is often discarded at the end of the day.

According to a bakery manager in Wan’an, Jiangxi Province, freshly baked bread typically lasts only 24 hours, while packaged bread has a shelf life of three days. To maintain taste and quality, near-expiry bread must be removed from shelves, contributing to high wastage rates.

However, reducing production is not a straightforward solution. A full shelf creates a visual impact, enticing customers to make purchases. Additionally, offering limited bread varieties does not meet the diverse demands of customers, particularly younger consumers who prioritize freshness and new varieties.

Some netizens have noticed that certain businesses prefer to discard bread rather than offer discounts to avoid customers waiting for reduced prices, which could impact daytime sales.

A Potential Solution: Managing Excess Bread

While many bakeries opt to discard unsold bread, some have implemented alternative strategies. For instance, a bakery in Yichun, Jiangxi Province, offers near-expiry products for free on the second day after they are baked. If the bread remains unsold by the third day, it is donated to sanitation workers or delivery riders around 6 pm.

Additionally, some bakeries sell unsold items through “blind boxes,” a popular option among younger consumers. For example, a bakery on Yuyuan Road in Shanghai organizes a one-hour limited-time bread blind box sale every night, attracting customers with low prices and reducing food waste.

Moving Towards Sustainable Practices

To address the issue of wastage and promote sustainable practices in the bakery industry, experts recommend moving away from extensive production models and implementing precise distribution strategies. Furthermore, the establishment of comprehensive industry standards could facilitate the healthy development of the bakery sector.

By introducing detailed regulations for waste reduction and standardized operational procedures, businesses can contribute to a more sustainable and efficient bakery industry.

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