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Marks & Spencer Freezes Garlic Bread in Store to Reduce Food Waste in UK

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Marks & Spencer (M&S) has extended its initiative to transform unsold bread into frozen garlic bread at 200 retail stores in the United Kingdom as part of its 2030 goal to halve food waste. The recent rollout followed a successful trial in eight stores, where unsold baguettes and boules were taken from shelves and filled with garlic butter at the end of each day before being frozen to provide an extended shelf life of 30 days. Priced at £1 for a garlic baguette, £1.80 for a twin pack, and £2 for the garlic boule, they are merchandised from mini reach-in freeze cases exclusively displaying the offerings.

The London-headquartered chain is also helping customers to recycle more, with the garlic bread packaging now 100% widely recycled. The new packaging, which is made from translucent paper or paper with a small plastic window, is now being used for every item in M&S’s in-store bakery as part of its goal to make all of its packaging widely recycled by 2022.

“Our customers love the freshness and quality of our in-store bakery products, but their short shelf life means it can be a challenging area for waste,” said Paul Willgoss, the company’s food director of technology. “Whilst we’ve made great progress in better predicting daily bakery demand and accelerating our charity redistribution, we’ve been looking at how we can innovate our processes to ensure we continually prevent waste. By turning leftover loaves into frozen garlic bread, we’re not only creating delicious new products for family mealtimes, but we’re also helping to ‘Spark Change’ together with our customers to significantly reduce waste. What’s more, they can now be confident that the packaging they take home from our bakeries will be recycled and given a new purpose too.”

David Moon, Head of Business Collaboration at the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) charity added: “Bread is the second most wasted food item in the home, with around one million loaves thrown away every day. As a short shelf life item, it can also become surplus at the end of trading. This initiative from M&S is a simple solution to a real problem that turns a surplus item into a brand new product to be enjoyed anew, and stops food being wasted. We welcome the large scale introduction by M&S, a signatory to Courtauld 2025, and the clear messaging the retailer is giving to shoppers that every effort is being made to avoid food going to waste. Freezing bread in the home is an excellent way to add new life to loaves.”

Throughout the trial period, M&S tested the entire process from behind the scenes operations to customer engagement. Following a positive response from the trial, the retailer is featuring shelf-edge signage to engage customers on the food waste reduction concept across all 200 stores.

Through its food redistribution scheme in partnership with Neighbourly, over 580 of M&S’s stores support 1,500 community causes across the UK with surplus food. Since 2015, the company has donated the equivalent of over 16 million meals to support local causes.