Bakkersgrondstof is led by three passionate bakers who collect excess bread from bakeries and reprocess them into tasty bread flour

Their aim is closing the loop on the 130,000 loaves of bread that are left on the shelf at Dutch bakeries every day. Sebastiaan Hetterschijt, is the Circular Value Chain manager at Bakkersgrondstof. He was born and raised in a bakery, and collaborated with bakers for year, mainly in a teaching role. After that, he worked in value chain management consultancy. “What is happening regarding circularity in the Netherlands, is intricately linked to this. If you want to become circular, you must build chains from scratch. So, after being a consultant for 25 years, instead of motivating other people and just waiting to see what they would do, I wanted to do something myself again. I wanted to change the world myself instead of only telling others to change the world. After some circular entrepreneurial experiments, the current model of Bakkersgrondstof was born slowly but surely. We took Moerman's Ladder as our guide, starting with making compost from green waste, but moving up the ladder until we are where we are now: collecting old bread, making sourdough from it and then making bread out of it again. This is not only circular, but also makes the bread tastier. After finding our business model, we had a period of three years in which we were knocking on the doors of wholesalers, raw material manufacturers and large bakers. Finally, we reached a breakthrough when we started collaborating with Bakkerij Koenen and Top Bakkers, a national network of sixty-five regional bakeries.”

Questions and Challenges

“Right now, Top Bakkers is looking for a customer for the breads that Bakkerij Koenen can make with his residual flow, from our sourdough. Then we will offer exclusivity for a year. In this year, we can start building a factory, so after that year, we hope we will be able to manage demand from ten to fifteen bakeries. That is why we decided to apply for Circular Factory. It’s just the right time because our factory is looming on the horizon. Currently we are looking for financing, make our business case airtight and thinking about the practicalities of building an actual factory. Someone is already working on the map of the factory. Circular Factory is helping us with streamlining all of this. Especially the story of Tekkoo is an immense help to us. We are also still struggling with the marketing and communication of Bakkersgrondstof. Our story is clear, but what is less clear is who should be the one to tell it: us, the bakers, the middlemen? And how? We are also addressing this in the program.”


The future

“For the future, our first goal is building that factory. In five years, we want to able to help everyone who does something with dough or bread. We want to completely unburden them of their residual flow and ensure that their turnover is optimized with that residual flow. For them to say: ‘Here you have the residual flow, go build a chain, go develop a product, go and see how I can fill my store based on that residual flow.’ Our dream is that this is the standard for every company in the industry. In the bigger scheme of things, with Bakkersgrondstof we would like to contribute to more transparency in the entire chain as well. We will put a QR-code on our breads, where after scanning customers can learn all about the bread: where did it come from, what are the exact ingredients, how much CO2 emissions were caused by the production, etcetera. But our end goal is transparency in the whole industry, so we actually want to set up an open database where consumers can find all the information about not only our products, but all products in the industry. We want to tell the whole story, using the true pricing method as well. To inform people about what they are actually buying. I think it is very important that the real story at the product level can be understandable and accessible for everyone. And in the end, the goal is of course to fight the food waste problem. Considering all the food we are wasting, you can see that we don’t have a food problem, we have a distribution and welfare problem. The most important thing is that we distribute wealth more fairly and equally across the globe. That would reduce our worldwide problems greatly.”



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