8 Dec 2023
Consumers aren’t just interested in what goes into their bread. People want to know how those ingredients and the bread itself are made. This call for transparency and sustainability has bakeries working on a shorter food chain. Frontrunner bakeries are using locally grown grains and some even go as far as milling their own flour. Meet: the farm-to-table bakery.
According to our 2023 Taste Tomorrow consumer survey, 64% of global consumers look for products that are produced sustainably. We see the interest is highest in the Middle East and Africa (78%), followed by South-America (75%) and the Asian-Pacific countries (71%).
This makes transparency regarding where you source your ingredients from and how your products are made essential to thrive nowadays. That information is important to 68% of consumers now, versus 66% in 2021. But transparency in itself doesn’t cut it. Food preferably has to be locally sourced, with a positive impact on all stakeholders involved. That means an entirely ethical supply chain, with not just unsprayed crops, but fair pay for farmers too.
In our worldwide survey, we’ve analyzed where this interest in sustainable cultivation and production comes from. There we found that it’s not just concerns over climate change that drives consumers to buy sustainable and local foods. They also believe that food which is good for the environment, is good for themselves too: 68% of people think that products that come from sustainable farming are much better for their health and 65% believe that food made with local ingredients is healthier.
In the foodservice industry, the growing desire for transparency and sustainability in food sourcing has led to the farm-to-table trend, in which restaurants such as Blue Hill at Stone Barns** in Tarrytown (USA) use the fresh ingredients grown at Stone Barns, the organic farm located on the restaurant’s property. This connects consumers and chefs more closely to the ingredients and the specifics of the location. The resurgence of interest in local agriculture and a demand for fresher, more traceable ingredients is also making waves in the bakery industry. There are now even farm-to-table bakeries that prioritize sourcing directly from nearby farms, ensuring that each grain, fruit, and dairy product carries the imprint of its local terroir.
These farm-to-table bakeries emerge as beacons of authenticity. As consumers seek a deeper connection to the land and a reduced ecological footprint, these establishments have become pioneers, championing sustainable practices. From heirloom grains to organic fruits, every ingredient is carefully selected, transforming the act of baking into a narrative of responsible agriculture. Some even go as far as freshly milling their own flour.
Elmore Mountain Bread is a micro-bakery that makes bread from organic and regionally sourced wheat and specialty grains, all of which are ground into flour in their own stone mill. They describe their products as ‘deceptively simple in ingredients, but complex in process’. This is because they mill their flour daily to keep the nutritious germ oil and unique aromas of the grain intact. That makes the bread healthier and tastier. The use of a wood-fired oven is another traditional and complex step in the process.
Most supermarket products travel approximately 2000 kilometers from where they are made to the shelf. The grain for plant-based bakery and bread shop Ed’s Bred only travels about 10% of that distance. That has a large impact on the carbon footprint of the bakery. Their commitment to ‘keeping it local’ means that more than half of their non-labor expenses go to local independent suppliers who are located no further than Vancouver, which is the closest city. Salt, flour, (vegan) cheese and milk, fresh produce, maple syrup etcetera all come from nearby producers. That also means that the carrot cake is only available when there are local Pemberton carrots available. Ed's Bred even keeps their customer circle local: their website states that customers tend to live within a 7 km radius.
The family-owned business Miller + Baker bakes sourdough loaves and pastries with flour they mill themselves. All grains come from Western Australian farmers using sustainable agricultural methods. Consumers can even see that the hard wheat flour that is used for their bread comes from the Haggerty Family in Mollerin. The in-house produced stone milled flour serves as a base for traditional sourdough loaves, but is also sold to consumers for home-baking.