Waste should be a constant concern in bakeries, snack bars, and the like. From a management point of view, this problem generates losses to the business and affects its profit margin. But the most important factor that must be considered is that it is a humanitarian issue. After all, those products that are going to waste could feed people in situations of social vulnerability.
Another relevant issue to be raised is that some of these foods, when improperly discarded, can cause damage to the environment. Therefore, it is essential to take attitudes that avoid these situations and contribute to the good of the company and its community.
Start taking action even before the purchase
The waste starts even before the purchase, if some precautions are not taken. Check out the main ones!
Keep good stock control
Having good stock control means knowing exactly what is in it and what the expiration dates are for each item. This information is essential to determine which products need to be replaced and which are piling up for too long.
A good solution for those products that are not selling well is to create promotions. Another alternative is to prioritize recipes that use the ingredients that are closest to expiration in a given period. Both help to minimize financial impacts and free up space for new foods in stock.
Consider seasonalities and market fluctuations
Seasonalities are key in defining the bakery product mix for each season of the year. Typical examples are the June and Christmas holidays – two periods that require the use of very specific ingredients that do not have the same output during the rest of the year. Therefore, it is important to equalize the amount of food purchased in relation to the amount of time it will be used to prevent it from spoiling.
Choose food well before buying
The quality of food, especially fresh food, directly interferes with its shelf life. Many entrepreneurs have the practice of buying in larger quantities to achieve cost savings. However, this will not help if they end up being wasted. Therefore, it is fundamental to know how to choose well each one of them to ensure that they will have a long enough shelf life to meet the bakery’s needs.
Take care of the food from arrival to sale
After acquiring the food, taking the care we have mentioned, it is important to follow a series of good practices to increase its durability and usability. We will look at some of them below.
Store food properly
Each type of food requires a different form of storage. Frozen and chilled products, for example, need to be kept at the right temperature to ensure minimum food safety. Others, such as flour, need a cool, airy place, free of moisture, to prevent the proliferation of microorganisms that are harmful to health. Always follow the instructions on the package.
Separate only what will be used on the day
One of the most common causes of food waste is opening packages or defrosting unnecessarily. To avoid this problem, the ideal is to divide the products into portions equivalent to daily use before storage, whenever possible. Another very valuable practice is to check that there isn’t already an open package of the food that will be used in production before opening a new one.
In the stock, organize the items according to their expiration date, leaving the ones that are closest to expiration more accessible. This way, they will naturally be used in the correct order, preventing them from being forgotten on the shelves.
Take care of hygiene in the process of preparing the products
The hygiene both of the place and equipment and of the people who will handle the food is crucial to maintain the bakery’s food safety. Clean and organized environments avoid the appearance of pests and the spread of diseases. This way, products last longer and the risk of contamination is eliminated. Besides being a requirement of the sanitary legislation, it is a matter of public health.
Protect the food on display
The exhibition of products such as cakes, pies, snacks and breads is essential in a bakery. However, it is also a source of risk because of flies and other insects that may come into contact with these foods. Therefore, it is necessary to have proper equipment for this type of purpose, which keeps the products visible while protecting them. By the way, the customers themselves can put the protection of the food at risk, so it is recommended to distribute reminders so that they avoid leaving the displays open.
Deep freezers are equipment that operate at -35°C, cooling or freezing foods quickly, allowing them to maintain their structure and properties and to be stored and used later, according to demand. In other words, zero loss and greater production control.
The investment in this equipment is quickly paid off, since the process is very versatile and allows to work with the entire product line in several stages, besides being a great quality and food safety differential.
Review what is going to waste
At the end of the working day of every bakery, there are always some products left over that have lost quality over the hours and that, for this reason, no longer attract customers. The most used strategy for bread is to assemble packages with some units at prices well below the new products. Some people even prefer them because they are more economical. Another option is to use them as ingredients for other products, such as breadcrumbs and bread pudding.
However, it is not always possible to reuse everything, and a lot ends up going to waste. Among these foods, some can have another destination, such as the oil used for frying salty snacks. It can be donated to associations that reuse it to produce soap and other products. Organic waste, on the other hand, can be used in composting by organic food producers.
As we have seen, there are several ways to avoid food waste in a bakery. Besides avoiding financial losses, the solutions can help preserve the environment and generate income for people in need. So start doing your part right now and use these tips in your establishment.