From bread to brew, a sustainable way of managing food

Ursula Phillips, Cape Town
10th January 2019

Last year we headed over to the Stellenbosch University at the Department of Food Science to watch the final year presentations on sustainability and using food waste to profit.

What is sustainable management of food?

Sustainable Food Management is a method that is used to reduce the threat of environmental damage and various other factors. It works to promote innovation and highlights the value in using efficient management of food as a resource instead of a waste.

Based on the familiar concept of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," this approach shifts the view on environmental protection and more fully recognizes the impacts of the food we waste. 

Why is the sustainable management of food so important?

Neglected food is both a growing problem and also an untapped opportunity. In South Africa alone, a third of our food, or 10 million tons, goes to waste every year. What’s even more troubling is that while the vast number of South Africans crave food they cannot access, the country somehow, without any shame, manages to dump food valued at R60-billion which is equal to 2% of our gross domestic product.

This also has a huge effect on our water consumption. It takes vast quantities of water to produce such immeasurable amounts of food, be it plants or animal food, pesticides, machinery or packaging. When we throw food in the trash, we are throwing away much more than just food. We are in fact wasting tonnes of water which is squandered daily.

Through sustainable food management, we can help businesses and consumers not only save money, but more importantly provide a channel in our communities for those who do not have enough to eat and conserve resources for future generations.

Food wastage also has an enormous impact on our environment. When food goes to the landfill, it’s nutrients never return to the soil. What actually happens is the wasted food decays and produces methane gas.

Another important area to highlight is that there is a huge employment potential in sustainable management of food which is being unused, possibly ignored and completely discounted.

Reducing wasted food is a triple win; This is good for the economy, for the community and for the environment. 


Why did we attend the Stellenbosch University Department of Food Science?

Being sustainable and environmentally aware is a big deal for us here at bevPLUS, so we decided to get involved with this year’s Stellenbosch students who have been working very innovatively at creating sustainable products made from wasted foods. Their project theme for this year was “Profit rather than waste”.

There were seven groups involved in inventing, producing and branding their own products and we were highly impressed with each group’s pioneering concepts. They were: 

  1. Carrattaro (Gluten free bread made from wasted carrots)
  2. Grapezels (Pretzels made from wasted grape pomace)
  3. Bread2Brew (Craft beer made from wasted bread)
  4. Yoffee (Toffee sweets made from wasted sweet whey)
  5. Nudels (Instant noodles and seasoning made from wasted vegetables)
  6. TerraBites (Baked snack made from wasted coffee ground and vegetable’s)
  7. Banaco (Coffee flavoured yoghurt with flakes made from wasted banana peels)

Seeing as we are very deep rooted and passionate about the craft beer industry we decided to sponsor our superior Weyermann® Specialty Malt to one of these groups (Bread2Brew) towards the making of their original bread based craft beer.



The taste of the Bread2Brew is a softer, easier drinking beer with a milder softer aroma. Similar to a Weiss or a Saison. The Bread2Brew group went through various trials and experiments to change various factors such as taste, cloudiness, colouring etc. but the eventual outcome was a successful and a very clever concept. 

This group of very talented ladies realised that currently there are no commercially made beers made with bread in South Africa. After tasting their brew, we realised that it’s definitely an unused market and has great potential. 

We hope that this idea paves the way for other brands within the craft beer industry in South Africa to start getting involved in the sustainable management of food in their own beers.


How can you do your part towards the sustainable management of food? 

Simple steps in your daily life may be important in resolving this problem such as:

Use helpful apps and gadgets. There are various tools and apps that aim to help people avoid food waste. Some of the apps that we have run across and could be helpful are:

  • JustNow: Offers clients 30-50% discounts on foods that are starting to reach their sell by date. Many South African shoppers are already using this app and if you are a restaurant or hotel you may want to get involved.
  • NoFoodWaste: A non-profit organisation that assist in distributing your wasted food to those that need it the most.
  • LoveYourLeftover: A cooking app that will help you minimise waste and maximise taste.
  • FoodFully: Helps reduce household food waste by tracking food purchases, it also offers reminders and alternative food choices.

Keep track of what you throw away. Manage a waste list to keep track of what you're throwing away. When you look at a list after a weeks’ worth of wastage it makes you realise how much damage just one person or family is contributing towards the negative effects of the environment.

Save and eat leftovers. Don’t forget to pack your leftovers for lunch at work or school.

Shop smarter and more realistically. When you go shopping for groceries, make sure you do not overbuy. 

When cooking, don't over-serve food. Most of the time, (especially South African’s) we dish up so much more than we end up eating. Using smaller plates can also make a big difference.

Store food in the right places. Storing food correctly is a large part of food wastage, investigate which fruits and vegetables prefer staying in or out of the refrigerator.

Avoid clutter in your fridge, pantry and freezer. Sometimes when we see clutter on our shelves we can’t see that some food at the back are still fresh for consumption until we forget and realise too late.

Donate to charities. Before you throw away excess food, look into food charities and donate your food wastage to people in need.

Try canning and pickling. Canning is a great way to preserve food (especially fruit) and can increase its shelf life for months. Investigate various safe ways that you can preserve your food.

Try composting. Rather than discarding scraps, you can compost certain foods and turn it into nutrient-rich fertilizer. If you can’t prevent, reduce or donate wasted food, you can compost. By sending food scraps to a composting facility instead of to a landfill or composting at home, you’re helping make healthy soils. Adding compost to gardens, highway construction sites, and poor soils makes great things happen. Properly composted organics improve soil health and structure, it also improves water retention and supports plant life as well as reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides.


Thank you to the Stellenbosch University for inviting us to watch the final presentations from their Department of Food and Science and also to all of the talented groups involved in creating the food to waste products.

A special thanks to the ladies from Bread2Brew for their delicious and sustainably made craft beer and of course to our very own Weyermann® Specialty Malt for producing top notch quality malt.

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