19 Apr RevALEution inspires M&S
This week, the rev-ALE-ution we started in 2016 has spread to the UK high street, with Marks and Spencer independently launching their own surplus bread beer. With 44% of bread being wasted in the UK, it’s good to see this iconic British retailer stepping up to the plate.
A 2008 investigation by our founder, food waste campaigner Tristram Stuart, found that Marks and Spencer’s sandwich supplier was discarding 13,000 slices of fresh bread every day from one factory. Why? Because those chiller cabinet sandwiches don’t use the heel end, or, often the first, slightly smaller slice, of the loaf. Retailers say consumers won’t eat crusty sandwiches, and want perfectly uniform sandwiches. What do you think?
Fortunately, bread makes great beer. For Toast, surplus bread from sandwich makers and bakeries makes up 33% of the grain bill – the equivalent of a slice in every bottle. Only malted barley, hops, yeast and water are added. M&S’s new beer uses 10% surplus bread and we hope they’ll use their loaf and increase this over time to meet our bready benchmark.
Our beer is brewed by Wold Top Brewery in Yorkshire. It’s one of the UK’s most sustainable breweries, from the water taken directly from bore holes in the ground to the spent grain sent to local farms to be used as animal feed. We also collaborate with bakeries and breweries worldwide. Our latest collab brews are with Long Arm Brewery in London and with Cleophus Quealy Beer Co in San Francisco. In 2017, we also launched Toast Ale in the US (New York), South Africa (Cape Town), Iceland (Reykjavik) and Brazil (Rio).
All our profits are poured into the charity Feedback to end food waste. Our collaborations and franchises additionally support local food charities that are raising awareness of food waste and helping to empower people to feed themselves. We’d have loved M&S to work with us so we could to channel even more dough into our charity partners. Nevertheless, we’re delighted to have inspired the company to take action on the waste generated by their stores and supply chain.
We’ve got ambitious plans to get the entire beer industry working with us to end bread waste. We’ve shared our homebrew recipe online – downloaded over 30,000 times – so you can even join us in your home. Working together, as one big family spread around the world, we can share best practice and build a global movement of beer lovers brewing a better planet. It’s exciting how far things have come and we invite all brewers, bakers and retailers to join us in raising a Toast to the rev-ALE-ution.