Breathing new life into unsold bakery products


Every week George Weston Foods Baking NZ bakes and distributes over 1.4m1 products to supermarkets, dairies and foodservice retailers around New Zealand. Each of our products only have a couple of days to sell. If the product is not sold within this time, it is pulled back off the shelf. This is done so Kiwis can enjoy the freshest baked products available.

When a product is not sold and pulled off the shelf the question remains of where does it go?

Instead of allowing the unsold baked goods to go to landfill in plastic packaging. GWF Baking NZ brings back these products to it’s bakeries for further processing. Every week roughly 140,0002 products are returned via our supply chain to our bakeries. In the South Island 30% of loaf bread returned to the bakery, is turned into bread crumbed products. This bread crumb is then packed off and sent to food service customers. As bread crumbing removes water from the bread product, it extends the shelf life of the returned bread to 12 months3. Most of the remaining loaf bread, buns and rolls, garlic bread and crumpets that can’t be turned into bread crumb are turned into animal food.

The result

Instead of putting 4,258 tonnes4 of bread and baked goods into land fill every year. GWF Baking NZ transforms what is technically waste product into completely new products that support the wider food chain.


How do you remove water from bread?

The process is completely natural. Bread, primarily white, is put into a large tumble dryer, just like a dryer for clothes. The process of heating and rolling the bread is what creates the bread crumb. Do not try to make your own breadcrumbs this way at home though!

Is this a closed loop system?

No. Unfortunately this is not a closed loop solution. Closed loop systems need to consume material from the original item to make a new version of the same item. An example of a closed loop system George Weston Foods Baking NZ has created is the recycling of bread crates. Turning baked goods into breadcrumb and animal food is more aligned to the concept of upcycling.

Do you take returns on Gluten Free products?

Yes we do Gluten Free product is returnable.

Do you make Gluten Free crumb?

No we don’t have a separate facility to process the Gluten Free bread into breadcrumb. We wouldn’t risk cross contamination by using a gluten bread facility to process gluten free product.

This data is not live and is subject to change. Last updated 20/08/21.

  1. Internal report of all products gross average units sold per week in the last 52 weeks.
  2. Internal report of all products net returned average units returned per week in the last 52 weeks.
  3. Product specification for GWF White Bread Crumb.
  4. Internal report of total number of returned products for the last 52 weeks by the net weight of each product.