Questions and Answers

Why is bread wasted, and how big of a problem is it?

Bakeries bake bread every day and sell only fresh loaves and buns. This means that not only do they have edible but day-old bread, unsold at the end of the day, there will be more the next day. Although it is difficult to make exact calculations, we can estimate what kind of waste is happening in South Africa. We’ll use publically found data from 4 big bread producers in South Africa. Each big bread manufacturer has on average 12 bakeries which supply an average of 11,25 million loaves a day. If only half of those loaves’ top and heel were not eaten, there would still be over 5625 TONS of bread waste a DAY. This number doesn’t consider unsold loaves, independent bakeries like Knead, or instore bakeries like those in retail chains Pick n Pay or Checkers.

Is food waste such a big deal in South Africa?

In South Africa, there are more than 13 million people going hungry every single day, our country produces enough to feed us all. However, 32% of all food produced in South Africa is wasted before it even gets to a consumer. Food production is the single biggest impact that humanity has on the environment as it uses huge amounts of land, fuel and energy. We’re trashing the planet to produce food that no-one eats.

What is the environmental impact of food waste?


More than 50 percent of the waste occurs during production, yield handling and storage phase and the remaining happens during processing, distribution and consumption stages.

In South Africa and other developing countries were more likely to lose or waste food at the upstream phase due to lack of proper harvest techniques and infrastructure.

When food is wasted, the impact on the environment is huge because of all the energy and natural resources it has taken in processing, transporting it, and storing it.

If included in a list of countries ranked according to their greenhouse emissions, food waste would come in the third spot, right after USA and China.

Food waste that ends up in landfills produces a large amount of methane which is a more powerful greenhouse gas than even CO2. To explain, when greenhouse gases such as methane, CO2 and chloroflurocarbons are released into the air, they absorb infrared radiation and heat up the earth’s atmosphere, causing global warming and climate change. Considering that South Africa is especially water-insecure, AND that agriculture accounts for 70% of the water used throughout the world, food waste also represents a great waste of freshwater resources.


FACT: It is said that a volume of water roughly three times the volume of Lake Geneva is used just to produce food that is not eaten.

FACT: By throwing out one kilogram of beef, you are essentially wasting 50,000 liters of water that were used to produce that meat. In the same way, nearly 1000 liters of water are wasted when you pour one glass of milk down the drain.

FACT: Millions of gallons of oil are also wasted every year to produce food that is not eaten.

What is the “food waste hierarchy”?

If food isn’t suitable for human consumption or, as in the case of bread, there is too much to redistribute, it should be fed to animals. As a last resort, food can be used for composting or anaerobic digestion rather than being sent to landfill, but these are inefficient ways of converting the resources used to produce food into soil and energy.

What about giving surplus bread to people in need?

We asked a few bakeries, “Why not give the bread to charity?” and their response was, “We do offer it to charity, but they don’t collect the bread because it’s logistically difficult, and we don’t have the time or resources to do it ourselves, so the bread lands up going stale.” So often the bread cannot find the people that truly need the food. Besides this, the value that we bring by using this bread to create a product that people will buy regularly and funding sustainable feeding and empowerment through our partner NPO Soil for Life, is much greater than the value of feeding a select few people per day.

What about giving the bread to livestock?

Many food producers do this, however this just reiterates the process of carbon emissions into the ozone layer through the pigs defecation. Especially in a country with such high food insecurity, surplus produce should go to improving people’s circumstance or the environment.

How much of Toast profits go to the NPO soil for life?

100% of profits go to Soil for Life to fund one new home gardener a month/ 12 a year. This funds a full year of training, resources, equipment and support. Once their gardens start producing yield, they’re able to start feeding their families and local community, sustainably, and long term.

What is TOAST SA’s impact per year?

As a brand new world changing player in the beer industry, we are yet to be able to generate an accurate forecast, but our minimum impact for 2018 is 2.8 tons of bread and financing 12 home gardeners training and equipment. This means ±72 people would have sustainable access to healthy food from their first yield.

Alcoholism is a big problem in South Africa, why are you contributing?

Alcoholism is a big problem in South Africa, however Toast is not saying ‘drink MORE’, Toast is saying, drink OUR beer instead of another. We are asking consumers to choose a brand that is reducing food waste in South Africa, and creating awareness for the amount of food that is wasted before it even gets to us (32% by the way). Toast is also empowering unemployed South Africans by partnering with NPO Soil for Life who we fund to train home gardeners to grow food and sustain their families.


We do not endorse irresponsible drinking or overconsumption, and our marketing message will include these messages regularly.