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Herefordshire Zero Carbon and Nature Rich

The county-wide action plan and how you can make a difference

Peter Cook

Peter Cooks Bread

Who

Peter Cooks Bread, an award-winning bakery that delivers bread and pastries to farm shops, delicatessens, butchers, cafes and restaurants across Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Shropshire. They have developed their range over the past 40 years with an ongoing passion for real bread and are on a mission to share its nutritional value and great taste.

Why they signed up

They were, they say, already on the journey, Peter Cook being from a slow-food and real-bread ethos and part of that is to look after the planet.

“Slow food is about taking time to produce food properly with no shortcuts and increasing its nutritional value and taste,” explains his partner and company director Mavis Doughty-Cook. “There are no additives or preservatives in our bread, except for the salt which facilitates the yeast’s work.

“But we wanted to learn where we were when it came to our business and its carbon footprint. Only by knowing where you are now can you understand where you should go next.”

Steps taken

The company has always used many organic ingredients and always worked to minimise food waste. On rainy, slow days when sales are down their bread goes to staff or is sold via a national App and customers might pay a third of the price for a bulk end-of-day buy. “It’s not profitable but it avoids food waste,” explains Mavis. “We are also very careful with packaging, using compostable paper (even the pastry bags which look like cellophane are compostable). Everything else is washed or reused or recycled. The only plastic we use is for our bread crates which are theoretically reusable if customers return them!”

In their own words

“For us and this sector next steps are about understanding and reducing food miles. There are some ingredients you can’t source locally or even within the UK at the moment. We get as much wheat as we can from this country, but we need a heritage grain for our products and top up the supply we can source with an import from Canada. This will change, we know, if we can educate customers about the nutritional benefits of these grains, and so create more demand for home-grown heritage varieties.

“There is a lot to do when it comes to changing behaviours – but small, individual shifts in thinking can make a huge difference. We’d love to see people being open to trying different kinds of breads, to bringing their own bags to market when they buy, and to storing bread in a sealed container to make it last (so no food waste their end). We can also see real benefits to community collaboration when customers are close together, so we can deliver to one place and reduce the food miles. And we are ambassadors for independent shops – not just ours but for those shops selling local produce and employing local people. Saving the planet is about climate, but it’s about the community as well.”