The First Ever True Price of Bread

The True Price of bread

Bread is a basic element of diets across the world. Like many other agricultural products, production of grains leads to extraction of water, soil pollution, and the emission of CO2, all of which involve societal costs.

Together with Bakker van Vessem, True Price has now calculated the first true price of bread. Bakker van Vessem is a well-established bakery brand, running now for 111 years, with a consistent focus on creating unique and healthy baked goods. True Price compared their Hollandsch Brood with a constructed average bread sold in Dutch supermarkets, with imported ingredients and conventional agricultural methods.

As shown in the image below, we found that the Hollandsch Brood from Bakker van Vessem had a true cost of 7 eurocents, compared to 15 eurocents of conventional bread. The difference is explained by two main drivers: transport and chemical fertilizer use. Hollandsch Brood is produced and transported locally within the region thereby avoiding the higher impact of imported bread from other areas. Further, Bakker van Vessem use less manure fertilizer per hectare to keep the external cost low.

Bakker van Vessem should be congratulated on their efforts to ensure that their bread reflects the true cost of its production. While this is a huge improvement on the sector average, there is still work to be done. Bakker van Vessem is already taking action in minimizing their gas consumption by capturing heat from ovens and converting bread waste into biogas.  There are three key directions for improvements. First, reducing the use of fertilizer and replacing synthetic fertilizer with organic fertilizer. This may increase the biodiversity on the farm, which can have a positive effect on pollinators, such as bees. Second, compensating the CO2 emissions through certified remediation efforts such as tree planting. Third, making use of green energy and gas throughout their value chain. This can drive the societal energy costs down.

The delicious line of bread by Bakker van Vessem is now available in 16 stores, and is the first bread that can be bought for the True Price. Find out if there is a bakery near you (website is in Dutch).

Updated: July 2020