In what ways can a baker be sustainable? For Frank van Eerd of the Bisschopsmolen, every step in the process is an opportunity to make a responsible choice. The purchase of raw materials, the production method, the products themselves, the sale and the processing of residual flows are all aspects in which the entrepreneur takes social responsibility. This way of doing business earned him the support of LIOF.
Tasty and good
Bakery and taste shop the Bishop's Mill develops cereal products that contribute to a healthy and sustainable world. De Bisschopsmolen keeps its chain short and transparent, pays all links a fair price and shares knowledge. Her conviction? "What tastes good, should also be good!"
Frank van Eerd says: "Food is the most important element for allowing our bodies to perform well. This is important for top athletes, but also for people who want to stay healthy for as long as possible. People like you and me. That's why we founded GrainLabs, a laboratory for grains. A knowledge center where consumers, grain processors, scientists, healthcare professionals and sports experts share knowledge and work together."
"Both in GrainLabs and in our bakery we experiment and innovate," Frank adds. "We develop new products. Because what tastes good, in our opinion, should also be good." For example, the Bisschopsmolen brought 'tritordeum' to the Dutch market as a new cereal. "We did that in collaboration with Maastricht University and Wageningen University & Research. It is the winner of, among other things, the European Sustainability Award for the healthiest cereal. Yes, we are quite proud of that!"
Sustainable business for a healthier world is hugely important to Frank. "Of all groceries in the Netherlands, about 14% ends up unused in the trash. For bread, that's about one in five slices every day. Together, four hundred thousand whole loaves a day or ten million slices of bread. A cruise ship in weight. The Bishop's Mill would like to contribute to the circular economy. That's why we're trying to find a solution to this waste."
"We see it as our personal responsibility to combat food waste," Frank emphasizes. "A quarter of people regularly throw away food because the packaging is too big or not resealable. That is why we have been baking smaller loaves of bread since 2016. We thought that this would reduce the turnover of our bread, but no. The turnover of our bread remained the same in figures, but the quantity of loaves sold increased by 15%."
Frank and his team didn't leave it at that. Because there was still bread left over. "Together with Gulpener Bierbrouwerij we started looking for ways of circular economy to reuse leftover breads. From this, 'The Forbidden Bread' was born. Leftover bread from the Bishop's Mill is dried, ground and eventually reused to make beer," Frank explains. "Just like for us as a baker, it is essential for the Gulpener Beer Brewery that only natural ingredients are used to make the artisanal product. That way, the circle is complete and nothing needs to be thrown away."
Frank sought contact with LIOF to make his plans possible. Frank: "LIOF encouraged us and offered financial support." Niek Theunissen at LIOF didn't have to think long to support this passionate entrepreneur: "Sustainability plays an important role in everything De Bisschopsmolen does. For example, they buy as much locally as possible, they know the growers personally, they pay attention to CO2 emissions and the social impact of their business. They also produce healthy and innovative food products of the future in a sustainable manner. Bishop's Mill also complies with the ISO 26000 guideline. This is an international guideline for corporate social responsibility (CSR) in an organization."
That this way of doing business is not always the easiest path does not bother Frank. "Enjoying the good life and learning something from it, that is extremely important to us. Each link in the chain receives a fair price and we deal with our environment in a sustainable way. This is our guiding principle in everything we do. Now and in the future. If it doesn't fit, we don't do it. That means that we sometimes have to take a detour to reach our goal and that it sometimes takes a little longer, but that's not a bad thing at all."