Towards Sustainable Food Service with Shepherd’s

Providing sustainable food service is a major challenge for food businesses everywhere. Meeting stringent hygiene and food safety standards without resorting to disposable ‘everything’ and without wasting an unacceptable amount of food is a difficult balancing act, and the pandemic has only made it worse.
 
One of our exciting new eateries, Shepherd’s Artisan Bakehouse, has tackled this challenge head on recently.  Their aims were to reduce their reliance on non-renewable materials, to minimise food waste and to lessen what they contribute to landfill each week.  And while there's still plenty to do, they’re excited to share some of the steps they’ve taken so far towards bringing you a greener dining experience, whether you eat in or take your baked goodies home to enjoy!

Biodegradable Serving Ware
 
Made from reclaimed – and rapidly renewable – sugarcane pulp, the bowls and plates Shepherd’s use are an excellent alternative to single-use plastics. Unlike plastic (non-renewable, hard to recycle and takes forever to break down) or paper (no good for liquids!), sugarcane bowls and plates let you enjoy your meal without leaks OR any plastic waste.
 
When it comes to cutlery, they use Revode bioplastic spoons, knives and forks.  It’s produced from a rapidly renewable starch sourced from non-GMO crops, which means the cutlery is certified commercially compostable.  

Reusable & Recyclable Coffee Cups
 
Typically, takeaway coffee cups can’t be recycled due to the lining which prevents your scalding flat white from leaking through the cardboard and burning your hand. That’s why they love KeepCups and initiatives like Green Caffeen. But, if you forget your cup, you’ll be pleased to know that the takeaway cups at Shepherd’s are different...
 
Through their coffee partner, Seven Miles, Shepherd’s access the ‘RecycleMe’ program. This means their takeaway cups are made with a next generation lining which allows them to be recycled into high quality paper products.

Low Food Miles
 
Shepherd’s source 100% of their flour from within a five hour drive of the bakery, through their partnership with family-run Ben Furney Flour Mills. Bringing their wheat from Dubbo instead of from interstate or overseas reduces transportation pollution, as well as supporting Aussie farmers. All other ingredients are sourced as locally as possible, many via connections Shepherd’s have made through their 15+ years as stallholders at some of Sydney’s best farmers markets.

Nice Kitty Vegan Clean Treats
 
The trend for consuming less animal products continues to grow, as people become aware of the stress that dairy and meat consumption places on the environment. In 2019, Shepherd’s joined forces with Nice Kitty Co to introduce a range of vegan treats to their bakeries.  
 
Produced largely from organic ingredients, the Nice Kitty range of 100% natural, gluten free and dairy free bars and bites has allowed Shepherd’s not just to meet customer demand, but to reduce the amount of animal-sourced ingredients they use dramatically.

Diverting Bread from Landfill
 
Food waste can be one of the biggest barriers to creating a sustainable food service operation but Shepherd's have worked out a system which means they throw very few loaves away.  
 
Firstly, excess fresh loaves are offered to a number of local charities who feed the homeless and families in financial crisis, including one which several Shepherd’s team members volunteer for.  Next, any ‘wonky’ or day-old bread is reused by the kitchen team as breadcrumbs for sausage roll filling.  
 
Finally, Shepherd’s have a standing agreement with a number of farmers from rural areas near Sydney, who come and take stale loaves to feed their pigs, chickens and other animals. In this way, they ensure the least bread possible makes its way to landfill!

If you’d love to try Shepherd’s Artisan Bakehouse range of handmade sourdough, croissants, pies, sausage rolls and sweets - not to mention the ‘clean’ and vegan delights of Nice Kitty Co! - head over the footbridge to the ground floor of the new part of the Metro from Thursday 10 June.
 
To read more about their story, visit www.shepherds.com.au