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Bread Waste and Solution Suggestions

“The problem of food waste has recently become one of the most current problems such as hunger and climate change all around the world that people try to prevent and solve. In our country, where more than 500 thousand tons of bread is wasted each year, the campaigns led by NGOs on the waste have started to show their effects. The fact that many dishes and desserts are prepared out of stale bread and even the organization of contests proves that people take those campaigns seriously.”

Although food waste is a problem all over the world, it is particularly a problem in developed countries. That’s because developed countries have a higher income that brings an increase in the consumption amount and its variety, increase of consumption outside of the house, an increase in shopping malls, variety of marketing methods, disconnection from nature and agriculture because of urbanization. Inadequate technology, poor transport, poor storage, improper packaging, and improper storage in the entire food chain are other factors that cause waste. One out of every three plates in the world goes to the trash, and every minute, three children starve to death, and 60 percent of the wasted food can be recovered; when considering all of these, the seriousness of the situation manifests itself even more. Although all these figures led all countries and international organization to take preventions and these preventions brought some positive results, if speed and prevalence of these measures are not simultaneous, climate, water, soil, environment, and biodiversity will be under the risk. This picture will bring danger to the sustainability of the food supply.

According to FAO data, although there is enough food in the world to feed everyone, nearly 900 million people around the world cannot access food. One of the biggest challenges facing the world is that there will not be enough food to feed the global population that is expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050. To feed two billion more people in 2050, food production should increase by 50 percent globally. The food safety is a complex situation that requires holistic approach including all inadequate nutrition types, productivity, and income of small-sized food producers, the durability of food production systems, biological diversity, and sustainable use of genetic resources.

Food waste has become an obstacle to preventing malnutrition, which has become a major problem worldwide. Although food waste is reduced in middle and high-income countries, this does not help overcome food insecurity in low-income countries. If these waste foods are not repurposed, food security will be on the agenda again in middle and high-income countries as in low-income countries.

Bread is one of the most common nutrients of humanity. Since Turkey is a grain country and because of the country’s nutritional habits and socio-economic structure, the importance of bread in our nutrition is even more important. Based on the State Planning Organization and the World Health Organization, the basic food in Turkey is bread and other cereal products; 44 percent of the people meet their daily energy needs only from bread while 58 percent meet from bread and other grain products. The bread that is indispensable nutrition product of meal tables has an important place in nutrition as the source of carbohydrate and protein.

Although bread consumption is high in low-income groups, bread waste is less; bread consumption decreases as income level rises but waste increases. Factors leading to bread waste include excessive bread buying, improper storage of bread, and bread’s low quality. In the bread waste, workplaces with dining hall, hospitals, boarding schools, dormitories, hotels, and restaurants take first place with 70 percent.

Today, bread waste is one of the most important social problems. It is known that consumer behavior changes in proportion to income level. At the high-income level, bread waste is usually caused by stale bread, and this also means the trash of national income. Most bread waste occurs in households in which consumers play a role. As the number of individuals in the family increases, the amount of bread bought increases in parallel. However, nobody considers the age differences between family members and buys bread in parallel to the number of people in the house. This causes the excessive purchase of bread that leads to bread waste. It is considered that the number of individuals in families has an effect on bread consumption and thus bread waste.

When we look at the bread waste from the producers, although the consumer demand for bread remains around average, bread producers can bake more than the demand. This excess means bread waste. Considering that bread waste causes big economic losses, it is obvious that something must be done to prevent this waste. The most effective method to prevent bread waste is that bread should be baked as many as needed and the consumer should consume bread without being stale. Knowing and applying bread production techniques, packaging with the right packaging, producing bread by considering the balance of supply and demand are issues that need to be considered in preventing bread waste. Even stale pieces of bread can be consumed without being wasted. Bread waste is an important problem today, where the issue of food security is discussed publicly. When population and monetary consumption value are considered, the bread consumption in Turkey is above average. Bread, which is included in the food basket of each household and which has great importance in terms of nutrition, is not consumed and kept with the same importance. The waste rate of bread is estimated to be between 10 and 18 percent by region.

When reasons for bread waste are spelled out, it is highlighted that people have a lack of information, and it is emphasized that people should be informed. That’s why “Campaign to Prevent Bread Waste” has been in place around the country since 2013. One of the fundamental reasons for this campaign is to determine people’s attitude and behavior on bread consumption and waste. Considering studies to prevent bread waste since 2013 that was led by the Turkish Grain Board and the abundance of data, it is important to provide a clear picture on the current situation and to show efforts to take the necessary measure.

In our country, where more than 500 thousand tons of bread is wasted each year, the campaigns led by NGOs on the waste have started to show their effects. According to the research conducted by the Food Safety Association, awareness of bread, which was the leading food product wasted previously, is increasing. The research showed which foods are turned into waste most of the time. According to this research, fresh fruits and vegetables lead the most wasted food product list with 42 percent while milk and milk products follow with 41 percent. There has been awareness and sensitivity to bread waste. That’s why 87 percent of households try to benefit from stale bread instead of throwing away. Considering people that try to benefit from stale bread, 64 percent of these people use the inside of stale bread for a meatball or egged bread. Additionally, 32 percent of these people put stale in bags, hoping that someone will take the bread in the street. 41 percent use stale bread to feed their pets.

Things to do in order to decrease bread waste:
* Do not buy bread more than necessary,
* Store bread in a bag,
* If long-term storage is intended, the bread should be stored in the freezer and in the bag.
* Bread should be consumed by slicing,
* Dried bread should not be wasted; they should be heated on steam and consumed later on,
* Stale bread should be used in meals, cake, and desserts production in a way of breadcrumbs or dried crumb.
* ‘Bread Waste Prevention Plans’ for mass consumption places like hospitals, boarding schools, military units, and dining halls should be created and activated,
* Production planning,
* Production of bread with longer shelf life,
* Storing the breads in suitable conditions in the bakery or at the sale points,
* Bread should be sliced or should be supplied in small-sized in mass consumption points,
* At self-service points, bread should be placed not at the beginning; it should be placed at the end,
* It is recommended to order bread according to the menu in the mass food consumption places and to make a menu arrangement to ensure that the remaining bread is used in the following days.

Source:
* Ministry of Commerce, Turkey Waste Report
* Turkey Waste Prevention Foundation, 2018 Report

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