How did Toast start?
Toast was founded in 2015 by Toastmaster Tristram Stuart. He’s an author and campaigner on the environmental and social impacts of food production. Check out his TED talk here. He also set up our charity partner Feedback. Tristram discovered that beer was originally brewed with bread when he met the brewers at the Brussels Beer Project. Their bread-based Babylone beer inspired him to create a global beer movement to engage people in positive environmental action.
Our founding team was set up by Louisa in 2015, and we brewed our first batch with Hackney Brewery in the August, using leftover loaves from bakeries in London. We formally launched the business in January 2016, to coincide with being featured on Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty’s Friday Night Feast.
Why is bread wasted?
Bread is a hugely popular staple, but also tops the list of most wasted food items. In the UK, up to 44% is never eaten. We waste lots in our homes – 24 million slices of bread every day – because we buy too much. But huge amounts are wasted before it even reaches our bread bins…
Sandwich makers discard the loaf heels – 13,000 slices per factory every day – because people don’t want the crust.
Bakeries overproduce – demand is as unpredictable as the weather. There’s inevitably loaves left at the end of the day.
Supermarkets want full shelves. Edible bread is removed when new batches of fresh bread arrive, or it’s past the best-before date (an indicators of quality not safety).
And then there’s the restaurant bread baskets, hotel buffets … you get the picture!
Unfortunately it’s not as simple as baking less bread. We’re used to abundant supplies of day-fresh bread. We need to change that.
How is bread used in brewing?
Bread and beer have a long history together. Beer is the original way of preserving the delicious and nutritious calories that bread provides. We’re re-inventing this historic tradition.
We combine surplus fresh bread with malted barley in our grain bill – the bread replaces one-third of the malt typically used to brew beer. Bread is packed with carbohydrates, which are broken down to simple sugars by enzymes (amylase) in the barley. Hops are added for aroma and bitterness, and to help preserve the beer. Finally, yeast converts the sugars to alcohol.
We use the heel end of loaves that would usually be discarded by the sandwich industry. We work with sandwich companies like Adelie Foods who donate and deliver the bread to us at no cost. It avoids a waste cost for them and means they can have a positive impact – it’s win-win! For our collaborations, we also use surplus bread from local bakeries. All bread must:
Be genuine surplus
Be sliced and within life
Have known ingredients and allergens
Have no seeds, nuts, fruits or veg. These would affect flavour, plus the fats would diminish the head of the beer.
Be delivered in sealed containers.
Be fully traceable. Brewers donate spent grain to livestock and we need documentation to prove the bread has been segregated from meat and dairy at all times.
The resurgence in home-brewing means we can all get involved. We waste huge amounts of bread in our homes and not everyone wants to make bread and butter pudding. We’ve open-sourced a bread beer recipe for home brewers here.
Where is Toast brewed?
In the UK, our planet-saving beers are brewed by Wold Top Brewery in Yorkshire – one of the most sustainable breweries in the UK.
Pure, chalk filtered water travels only metres from a borehole to the brewery, barley is grown on site and malted by local family maltsters. Crops are surrounded with two metre margins to maintain wildlife biodiversity and maintain 35 acres of species rich chalk grassland that is home to varied flora and fauna.
As part of our circular economy model, hops are recycled as garden mulch, spent grains are collected by a local farmer to feed his cows and reed beds filter waste water before returning it directly to the ground.
Two wind turbines power the brewery and the farm.
Internationally, we brew with local breweries rather than exporting our UK beers. Check out our ‘around the world’ page for more info.
Which charities does Toast support?
All our profits go to charities fixing the food system so our impact can be greater than what we can do alone. Our main partner, Feedback, aims to halve food waste by 2025. As a start-up, we are not yet profitable, but have committed a minimum of 1% of revenues to charity until we are.
Feedback leads a global movement against food waste, working with governments, businesses and civil society to catalyse change in social attitudes and demonstrate innovative solutions to tackle food waste and wider food industry issues. Its campaigns include: Feeding the 5000, Gleaning Network, The Pig Idea, Stop Dumping, and the FSE Network.
We license our brand and collaborate with breweries all over the world. For these beers, we support local charities.
In South Africa we support Soil For Life, a non-profit training unemployed people to grow their own food.
In Iceland we support Vakandi, a not-for-profit raising awareness of food waste.
In Brazil Gastromotiva, a not-for-profit providing food training for disadvantaged people.
Check out our collaboration page for more info on the charity beneficiary of each of our collaboration beers.
What can we do about food waste?
Food production is the biggest impact that we have on the environment – it uses huge amounts of land, water and energy. But one-third of food is wasted – 1.3 billion tonnes every year. Food waste accounts for 3.3Gt CO2e (the 3rd top emitter after USA and China), has a blue water footprint of 250 km3 (3 times the volume of Lake Geneva) and a land use footprint of 1.4bn hectares (28% of worlds agricultural land area). In the UK, we waste about 15 million tons of food, with bread being the worst offender. Nearly half (44%) of bread produced in the UK is thrown away.
We’re trashing the planet to produce food that no-one eats.
What can we do?
Reduce surplus. We should produce only what we need and eat everything we produce. All our profits go to Feedback to fix the reasons that the doesn’t happen. We also support the Real Bread Campaign’s initiative to tackle overproduction in bakeries.
Redistribute surplus. Food should feed people. Many supermarkets have partnerships with charities who get surplus food to those in need. You can support one of these brilliant organisations here. With bread, there is too much surplus for charities. It’s perishable and bulky, so storage is a problem. But it can be a valuable ingredient in the circular economy – it’s a great replacement for the grains typically used to make beer!
Feed surplus to animals. Instead of importing crops grown for animal feed – often from fragile ecosystems subject to deforestation – food that can’t feed people should feed animals. Spent grain from brewing beer makes great animal feed.
Compost. Replenish the soils with waste food to keep them healthy and fertile. Anaerobic digestion is another option, but it’s inefficient to convert the resources used to produce food into soil and energy.
Food should never go to landfill. Without oxygen, food can take many years to decompose and releases methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
Is Toast vegan?
Yes! The bread we use does not contain any animal products, and we use vegan finings to filter and stabilise our beer.
What awards has Toast won?
|Beer & Cider Marketing Awards||2017||Best Innovation|
|British Small Business Awards||2018||Innovator (disruptor) of the year|
|Carlsberg Crafted||2017||Your Beer, Here? winner|
|FoodBev World Food Innovation Awards||2016||Best New Beverage Concept|
|Food Talk awards||2017||It’s All in the Taste Award + People’s Choice Award|
|Global Good Awards||2018||Best Eco Focussed Sustainable Enterprise|
|Greater London Enterprise Awards||2018||Best Non-Profit Food & Beverage Business 2018
Best Food & Beverage Social Enterprise 2018
Food Waste Reduction Product of the Year: Purebred Pale Ale
|Great Taste Awards||2018||Great Taste ** – Lager
Great Taste ** – Pale Ale
Great Taste * – Session IPA
|Great Taste Awards||2019||Great Taste * – American Pale Ale|
|IGD||2017||Sustainable Futures Award|
|International Beer Challenge||2016||Gold award: Packaging & Design;
Special award: Best Innovative Concept
|International Beer Challenge||2017||Silver Tasting Award: Session IPA|
|International Beer Challenge||2018||Bronze Tasting award: Lager|
|National Recycling Awards||2018||Food Waste Initiative
Recycled Product of the Year
|Quality Food Awards||2018||Small Producer Quality Food – Alcoholic Drinks
Bronze: Beer – Golden Ale
|Renewable Energy Association||2019||Sustainability|
|The Drinks Business – Global Masters||2018||Silver: Pale Ale
Bronze: American Pale Ale
Bronze: Session IPA
|Waitrose||2018||Waitrose Best Branded Supplier|
|Waste2Zero||2018||Best recycled/upcycled product|
|Escape 100||2019||Top 100 companies to escape to (#2)|
|International Beer Challenge||2019||Silver: American Pale Ale|
|Footprint Drinks Sustainability Awards||2019||Sustainable Use of Raw Materials|