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Toast Ale: Brewery makes beer from bread in bid to tackle food waste

By Francesca Gosling

Published 23/01/2016

A brewery has found a way to transform unwanted bread into beer after research found that UK households waste at least 24 million slices of bread a year.

The Toast Ale brew, which launches on Monday, uses one slice of fresh surplus bread from bakeries, delis and other sandwich makers to help brew each bottle.

According to food waste charity Feedback, the aim of the project is to tackle the "global issue of food waste" until it eventually puts itself "out of business".

Tristram Stuart, Feedback founder and creator of the Toast Ale idea, said: "Tackling the global issue of food waste has taken me all over the world. It was at the Brussels Beer Project where I first found out about this innovative brewing process that turns a colossal global problem into a delicious, drinkable solution.

"We hope to put ourselves out of business. The day there's no waste bread is the day Toast Ale can no longer exist."

The beer, which will be available online at £3 per bottle from January 28, is being produced by Hackney Brewery in east London. It is made by mashing the surplus bread into breadcrumbs before brewing it with malted barley, hops and yeast to make a distinctively flavoured ale.

Celebrity fans of the beer already reportedly include food waste champions Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

All profits will go to Feedback, which aims to halve food waste by 2030, after it reported that 15 millions of tons of food are wasted every year across the UK.

A spokeswoman added that, of all food items, bread was the "worst offender", with at least 24 million slices being thrown away in UK homes.

The amount of baked goods binned in households, she said, would be enough to prevent 26 million people across the globe suffering from malnutrition.

Jon Swain from Hackney Brewery said: "We absolutely jumped at the chance to join Feedback's fight against food waste.

"The important thing for us, as brewers, was to create a beer that tasted good and stood up against other craft beers. We worked hard to brew a beer that wasn't just a fad but something that people could enjoy time after time and would have a significant impact."

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