WRAP uses its (stale) loaf

The Waste and Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP) Love Food Hate Waste programme has joined forces with reigning Great British Bake Off champion Nancy Birtwhistle to reduce was resulting from stale bread.

The partnership was created after research carried out this month by Love Food Hate Waste revealed that around 24 million slices of bread are thrown away in UK households every day – and that almost one in five Brits have binned a forgotten loaf without even opening it.

The poll marks the launch of the initiative’s ‘Use Your Loaf’ campaign, which has set out to raise awareness of the amount of bread that goes to waste nationwide.

Best thing since stale bread

To demonstrate the potential for reducing this waste, Nancy created a meal for the public at a pop-up restaurant in London’s Borough Market.  This consisted of a nicoise salad starter with black olive croutons, moussaka with a breadcrumb topping for main course and a summer terrine for pudding. Afterwards, diners were surprised to learn that stale bread had been used as an ingredient in all three courses.

Of the event, Nancy said:  "There’s an assumption with people, my family included, that stale bread means ‘gone off’ bread, fit for the bin. But in actual fact stale bread is an ingredient, and we need it for every course in the menu I cooked today.

"It wasn't until I came out of the kitchen at the end of the meal and revealed that stale bread had been used in each dish that they all gasped! But though the bread was stale, they raved about how much they enjoyed it.’’

‘We’re all a bit guilty of throwing too much bread away’

Clare Morfin, 48, a business development director from Great Dunmow, Essex, said: ‘’The nicoise salad was excellent; you could really taste the olives in the croutons.

‘’I think we’re all a bit guilty of throwing too much bread away, and with the economic climate we have in Britain right now it’s great to learn of new ways to make it go further.’’

Almost half of Britons polled (49 per cent) say the eat bread every day. But research commissioned by Love Food Hate Waste to support the ‘Use Your Loaf’ campaign found that bread often goes neglected, with one in four respondents often throwing bread away before reaching the end of the loaf.

Over one in ten in the survey of 2,000 said they’ll throw bread away when it passes its freshest state. One in five claimed that letting bread go stale was a common reason it goes to waste.

Emma Marsh of Love Food Hate Waste said: ‘’We are a nation of bread lovers; from the classic sandwich to good old fashioned beans on toast.

‘’It is shocking to think of all that bread going to waste each year just from our homes. That’s why we are thrilled to be working in partnership with Nancy to help the nation ensure that our beloved bread can be used in so many ways.’’

Top tips for bread success

To help the country get the most out of their loaf, Love Food Hate Waste and Nancy have produced their five top tips for bread success:

·       Most bakery products have a “best before date”, which refers to quality. Your bakery products can still be eaten after this date, but may no longer be at their best.

·       Sliced loaves and other bread products are all great for freezing and can be toasted from frozen as and when needed.

·       Make slightly stale bread and leftover crusts into breadcrumbs by whizzing up in a food processor – these can be stored in the freezer to use later.

·       Storing bread in the fridge can make it go stale faster. The best place to store a loaf is in a cool, dry cupboard or your bread bin.

·       Freshen up a day old loaf by running it briefly under cold water and popping it in a hot oven for 10 minutes.


The campaign is also on the hunt for Britain’s best leftover bread recipes – enter the competition to win.

Love Food Hate Waste has more tips, recipes and waste solutions.