Yesterday’s bread against food waste

Contributed by Äss-bar

New initiative against food waste launches in the Swiss capital
According to a recent report by UNEP and the World Resources Institute (WRI), each year about 1/3 of all food produced worldwide, worth around US$1 trillion, gets lost, spoiled or wasted in food production and consumption systems. This means not only an economic loss, it implies that all of the natural resources used for growing, processing, packaging, transporting and marketing that food were also wasted. These are shocking figures in a world with over 800 million people suffering from hunger (FAO).

What is food loss and food waste?
According to FAO, “food loss and food waste refer to the decrease of food in subsequent stages of the food supply chain intended for human consumption. Food is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from initial production down to final household consumption. The decrease may be accidental or intentional, but ultimately leads to less food available for all. Food that gets spilled or spoilt before it reaches its final product or retail stage is called food loss. This is where new concept restaurants like the recently-launched Äss-Bar are aiming to make a difference.

The new Äss-Bar store at the heart of Switzerland’s capital city of Berne. Source: Äss-Bar
The new Äss-Bar store at the heart of Switzerland’s capital city of Berne. Source: Äss-Bar

To set an example against food waste
While the Plantwise programme – by providing solutions for farmers to manage plant health challenges through timely, science-based knowledge – aims to reduce food loss at the beginning of the supply chain, the Äss-Bar concept seeks to contribute to lower food losses at the retail and consumers levels. Developed and implemented by young Swiss professionals who wanted make a statement against food waste in Switzerland, the concept is exceptionally simple. The Àss-Bar aims to reduce bakeries’ food waste by creating a new point of sale for bread and pastries from the day before. ‘Äss-Bar’ in Swiss German means ‘edible’ and this is how they label the products they sell. All you can buy at their store is food waste; local bakeries would have disposed of it all, as is the custom with breads in Europe that are not bought within hours of baking

Äss-Bar collects all the high-quality bread, neatly decorated cakes and sandwiches one day after they would have been thrown out by bakeries and sells them in their own store. And this innovative concept is proving popular. The first store in Zürich sold more than 40 tonnes of bread and pastries in one year. This spring they opened their second store in Switzerland’s capital city of Berne.

Sandwiches and pastries - fresh from yesterday! Source: Äss-Bar
Sandwiches and pastries – fresh from yesterday! Source: Äss-Bar

Surprisingly, it’s not mainly eco-fashionistas or the poverty-stricken who buy bread ‘fresh from yesterday’. Lots of elderly people recall old memories from their youth or stories from their parents about how Switzerland has not always been such a rich and privileged country. The mix of customer groups is very broad, from bankers that work across the street, to teachers and public servants – all enjoy the products that not only taste good but also make a difference in the fight against food waste.

High quality swiss bread selection collected from local bakeries to avoid food waste.  Source: Äss-Bar
High quality Swiss bread selection collected from local bakeries to avoid food waste.
Source: Äss-Bar

Find out more about the initiative by visiting www.aess-bar.ch.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/aessbarbern
Twitter: @aessbarbern

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