22 September 2017

Où vont les invendus des boulangeries ?

Yesterday I was thinking and speculating about what French bakeries do with fresh bread and other baked goods that they can't sell by the end of the day. I found a couple of articles on the web. This one is from the regional newspaper called Ouest-France and carries the dateline Falaise, a town in Normandy [link to article in French]. It's basically a "puff piece" but I guess that's appropriate when you're talking about bread and pastries. Invendus in this context means unsold products (baked goods).

What do bakeries do with their unsold bread?

As non-profit
lead the fight
to reduce the
amount of food
that is wasted
every day,
some French bakers
have come up with
clever ways
to avoid throwing
surplus baked good

sinto the trash.
And some haven't.

Some bakers sell their surplus bread, some donate it, and some, reluctantly, discard it. Pastry chefs face no such dilemma because of laws regulating their trade. "We are restricted by the requirement that our products must stay refrigerated," says Sandrine Chapuis, from the Les Ducs pastry shop. "We are not allowed to give away unsold pastries." Bakers in pastry shops organize their work so as to waste as little as possible: "We prepare only as much as we can sell. Experience guides us in estimating what will fly off the shelves and what won't. We prefer to bake extra batches over the course of the day, as needed, rather than having to throw things out at closing time. Often, in the evening our display cases are empty."

"At the Aux Armes de Falaise bread bakery, we end up throwing out our surplus, and it's a real shame," says Jacky Quéron, the manager. "If a charitable organization would send someone to collect the unsold bread, we would be glad to donate it."

Other establishments have found viable solutions: "I give our unsold bread to customers who come by in the evening. They feed it to their animals," says Carole Goux at the Fournil de Guillaume bakery. "Pastries made with cream, butter, and eggs are either are thrown out or given to our employees, if they want them." Françoise at the Goudier bread bakery sells sacks of stale bread to people for their animals. "Charitable organizations don't do collections on the days my shop is open, so I throw away the rest."

At Christine and Gérard Chauvet's bread bakery, some of the unsold loaves are used to make bread pudding, which is then sold in the shop. The remainder are donated to food banks, whose volunteers come to collect the shop's unspoiled surplus goods every Tuesday evening.


  1. One of our bakers sells yesterday's speciality bread for a euro the next day if they have leftovers. Baguettes and pain go to people who use it to feed their animals. Laurence, our other baker, probably doesn't have leftovers very often, as she bakes in small batches throughout the day as necessary. Yesterday she had leftover pizza, but that was snapped up by the customer before me.

    1. Your comment makes me realize how seldom I've gone into boulangeries to buy bread over the past 13 years, ever since we starting buying bread from the itinerant bread lady in 2004. I might just enjoy buying bread in different shops over the next few years.

  2. One day old bread used to be sold here at a very cheap price, but I haven't seen it for a number of years. You made me think of one of our two largest supermarkets that heavily advertised their bread as fresh baked daily. It turned out it was fresh(ly) baked daily, but from prepared and frozen dough from Ireland. The supermarket copped a big fine.

  3. At the bakery in the Bugey that I mentioned in a prior column, the baker seemed to do several bakings throughout the day, and when I went in towards the end of the day there wasn't very much left.

    1. Smart baker, probably. But if he works all day, who does the early morning baking?

    2. I never figured that out. When I went in in the morning, there was usually a young woman at the counter, and maybe his wife one morning. One time I went in in the afternoon and the baker was at the counter. Maybe he doesn't sleep.


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