M&S turns unsold loaves and baguettes into frozen garlic bread to reduce food waste

M&S Food is extending its initiative to turn unsold fresh bakery loaves into frozen garlic bread to 200 stores as part of its 2030 goal to halve food waste.

The roll-out follows a successful trial in eight stores, with any unsold baguettes and boules – which are baked fresh daily – being prepared and filled with garlic butter at the end of each day.

The delicious reinvented garlic bread products are then sold as frozen with an extended shelf-life of 30 days – priced at £1 for a garlic baguette or £1.80 for a twin pack, and £2 for the garlic boule.

M&S 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.

Paul Willgoss, M&S food director of Technology, commented: “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. 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 WRAP, said: “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, bread 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 largescale 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, M&S 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 retailer has donated the equivalent of over 16m meals to support local causes.

During the Covid crisis, M&S accelerated the roll-out of a new app, which makes it even easier for stores to donate surplus food. The introduction of the app has helped M&S to double its redistribution rates in some stores and increase food donations overall by 160% since 2018.

The new initiatives form part of M&S’s wider in-store bakery relaunch, with eight new products – such as a banana bread and almond muffin – and eight recipe upgrades for even better quality and flavour.