Saving the Loaf: How to reduce bread waste

By student dietitian Genevieve Milesi

Is there truly anything greater than sliced bread?? A freshly toasted slice of bread with butter and jam in the mornings, or in a sandwich for lunch, a versatile option for breakfast lunch or dinner. Bread is a nutritious cornerstone food stuff of almost every household all over the world in various forms. However are we eating all of those great slices, or unwittingly throwing most of the loaf away?

In Australia food wastage cost the economy around $20bn each year, this equates to 7.3 million tonnes of food, equating to 300kg per person! When it comes to bread, it is estimated that for every loaf that is eaten, half a loaf is thrown away. Even if you had the best of intentions when baking sourdough at home during lockdown, did you eat the whole loaf? Don’t think its you, well consider this. If there are 20 slices in each loaf, if we discard the ends every time we are throwing out 10%, and that is if we eat the whole loaf week in week out. So it is pretty easy to see how this can add up quickly.

So how can we be more bread wise and eat the whole loaf?

Fresh breads can last anywhere from 2-3 days to 5-7 days, depending on the ingredients, and the first simple step to extending their life even further is to freeze them. Breads are ideal for freezing and can easily be defrosted prior to consuming. So start off by considering what you need to eat the day you purchase and freeze the rest. This way you won’t be wasting away a full loaf and watching it grow mould on your kitchen bench.

Cut it up! Those delicious artisan breads from specialist bakeries are delicious. However, bakeries typically don’t slice like your supermarket bread. So do as you would a regular loaf, firstly slice the whole loaf when you get home and freeze everything you won’t use in 1-2 days. The slices will be just as fresh when toasted next week

Now that you have a freezer full of crusts and slices leftover, what should we do with them? They may be too small for a sandwich. You can very quickly whip up a tasty meal or side dish with some of these great ideas. .

What to do with those crusts and last few slices?

It might be tough to stop all food waste, however with the humble loaf of bread, we can easily all do our bit to use up every slice and reduce food waste together.

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