219 tonnes of bread is wasted in Sweden every single day. Unlike other types of food loss or waste, bread is often wasted before it even reaches the consumer.
The Swedish National Food Agency, along with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Board of Agriculture, have come up with an action plan to try to make sure that Sweden fulfils its part of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
More specifically goal number 12.3: "By 2030, halve per capita global food loss and food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses."
Food waste is 1.3 million tonne per annum
According to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Sweden's total food waste come to a staggering 1.3 million tonne per year.
A recent research study from University of Borås and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, shows that out of those 1.3 million tonnes, 80 000 tonnes of food waste in Sweden consist of bread.
Bread takes a different path
However, unlike most of the other food products that go to waste, bread is generally not disposed of in the home. Rather, grocers and stores return any unsold bread that is past its use by date, back to large-scale bakeries, which is commonly agreed upon.
Some 15 percent of all baked bread is returned, and as a result contributes to food loss, this way. In addition, it is unclear what, if anything, happens to the bread when it is returned.
Seeing that the Swedish agricultural cooperative, Lantmännen, uses bread for ethanol production, there is still some hope the it does not go completely to waste:
"We make use of carbohydrate rich food waste such as pasta, bread and soda and produce ethanol from it and by that [we are] creating a circular business."
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