Ramping up the bakery waste message

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Food Waste Action Week is designed to drive home the message to cut food waste by 50% by 2030. Pic: GettyImages/Mny-Jhee
Food Waste Action Week is designed to drive home the message to cut food waste by 50% by 2030. Pic: GettyImages/Mny-Jhee

Related tags Wrap Food waste Bakery Fortress Technology Inspection Transparency Food Waste Action Week

Food Waste Action Week (7-13 March 2022) was created by anti-food waste expert WRAP to help slice global food waste in half by 2030 through actionable change.

WRAP’s 2021 report highlighted that around a third of all food produced is lost or wasted, contributing 8%-10% of overall manmade greenhouse gasses.

However, it also noted the bakery industry is striving to change this playing field, banding together to redistribute around 13,000 tonnes of food waste both charitably and commercially between 2015 and 2022.

In fact, one company signed onto WRAP’s food waste prevention roadmap – leading UK ambient cake and chilled dessert manufacturer BBF – reported a reduction of 2,231 tonnes of waste in 2020, a significant year-on-year decrease.

Even so, there is still work to be done if businesses are to meet the Courtauld Commitment  to halve total food waste by 2030.

Ahead of the second annual Food Waste Action Week​ (7-13 March 2022), food safety and inspection experts Fortress Technology has listed ways the bakery industry can bring a greater sense of transparency to the food chain.

Lead with efficient automation

Efficient automation is far more likely to facilitate the reduction in bakery waste than hinder it, especially as the use of ‘smart’ inspection machinery ensures waste, safety and production efficiency remain tightly controlled.

“This allows immediate and remote access, enabling food manufacturers to view the current equipment status, monitor rejects and maintain continuous, smooth production lines,”​ said Fortress Technology’s MD Phil Brown.

Tighten time-saving procedures

Manually carrying out regular checks can drain resources, so consider implementing digital testing. Fortress has a number of solutions available that automatically checks for all metal materials (ferrous, non-ferrous and stainless steel), saving bakeries time, money and, most crucially, their reputation.

Optimise detection

Bakery manufacturing requires high-speed, multi-line food packing operations that typically produce huge amounts of unnecessary waste. Rejection systems can remove entire lines of produce, resulting in tonnes of quality baked goods and cereals gone to waste. These losses not only impact environmental waste but the bottom line, too. According to Fortress, it is estimated the cost per line of false rejects is over £14,000, depending on the scale of the problem.

Given that bakeries use a wide array of mixers, dicers and slicers – most made from stainless steel – the tech company has intentionally focused its efforts on addressing harmful contaminant risks and reducing byproduct. These upstream gravity inspection machines can help to capture contaminants in their largest form, minimise ingredient waste and enhance productivity.

“Upstream is often the place where we can get two or three times the performance level,”​ added Brown.

“There is a better opportunity to identify where the source of a potential problem may be if there are several units throughout the line, especially when adding ingredients at different points or performing different processes.”

Stop surplus production

Poorly-weighed quantities or surplus production can rapidly equate to thousands of pounds of waste per month; inefficiencies that Fortress again can help combat.

The company has developed a high-end control system that captures sample readings by the millisecond, providing a game changer for bakery manufacturers concerned about product waste and giveaway.

“Manufacturers can pinpoint upstream operational deficiencies, including overfilling of packs, processing and packaging waste,”​ said Brown.

Dough checkweighing is another technology that saves industrial bakers time and money and ensures bread isn’t out of tolerance before the proving and baking phases. One such solution inspects up to 12,000 dough pieces per hour, rejecting those that are under or overweight by as little as 0.5g.

All bakery waste has value

Fortress believes manufacturers can add back into their bottom line by investing in accurate weighing, dosing and inspection equipment.

Bakers must balance product availability with waste minimisation in order to safeguard unnecessary losses. Increases in CO2​, energy, labour and transportation costs make it even more imperative to consider the whole waste picture and how precision processing can protect profit margins. Implementing time-saving and digital processes, automated calibration of machinery and better detection systems can help to acquire financial savings and tackle the war on food waste.

Oxfordshire-based Fortress Technology (Europe) – a wholly owned subsidiary of the privately-owned Toronto-based Fortress Technology – has built a highly regarded reputation to design, build, install and maintain inspection equipment that puts consumers first.

Its systems are renowned for their speed, accuracy and simple operation, designed to catch contaminants, slash waste, spot product defects, comply with weights legislation and reduce production downtime.