Celebrating Doughnut Week at Birchwood Park

In the week before National Doughnut Week (11 to 18 May) we received an enquiry from Birchwood Park in Warrington, a business park that’s home to over 165 enterprises. The management team wanted to celebrate by giving out doughnuts to the staff working at the park.

We were, of course, delighted to help, and quickly set about organising a special delivery of mini rings. They were delivered to the site on 12th May, and the team at Birchwood lost no time in distributing them to the various firms and workers. Their efforts soon made it onto Twitter, and we’re grateful to the team for sharing some of their photos with us.

We’re also very glad to hear that they went down so well.


Stop Food Waste Day

Special ‘international days’ are great tools for raising awareness about important issues, and two of them appeared on the calendar for April 2021.

The first was Earth Day on 22 April, which set out to promote and celebrate efforts to improve sustainability and reduce our collective impact on the planet.

Food Waste in the Air

One of the organisations that was keen to respond was the World Travel Catering Expo, which on 14th April, published an article about “the need for airlines to reduce food waste on board.” It begins with an assertion that is impossible to refute:

“The environmental case for tackling food waste is increasingly hard to ignore. Unconsumed food, including losses at pre-consumer levels, is associated with 8-10% of greenhouse gas emissions according to United Nations calculations.”

Waste in the airline industry has both commercial and environmental costs. According to the report, “up to 5.7 million tonnes of cabin waste was carried up into the air and brought back down again in 2017. Up to a quarter of that waste was untouched food and beverages.” That equates to an estimated $3.9 billion worth of waste that was either incinerated or sent to landfill.

United Nations Food Waste Report

One of the article’s sources is the United Nations Environment Programme’s UNEP Food Waste Index Report 2021. It notes that “reducing food waste at retail, food service and household level can provide multi-faceted benefits for both people and the planet (but) the opportunities provided by food waste reduction have remained largely untapped and under-exploited.”

Waste, Stock Management & Shelf Life

This under-exploitation of waste-minimisation opportunities certainly rings true for those of us in the food / bakery industry. In a recent news article, we mentioned research recently published by the waste-reduction specialist Too Good to Go. That included the startling statistic that over 70% of bakery businesses have no stock management in place to reduce food waste. It’s shocking because, of all the waste-related challenges that the world faces, having proper management systems in place is one of the easiest to address.

The same research also suggests that short shelf lives are directly or indirectly associated with over 60% of all reported food waste losses. Clearly, putting a greater emphasis on the longevity of products would make an important contribution to meeting global sustainability goals.

Longer shelf lives mean a reduced risk of food spoiling before sale – so they reduce retailers’ costs – but they also give consumers more time to eat, share or store their foods, so waste is also reduced downstream, at the consumer end of the process. Both have an essential role to play in meeting international targets.

Stop Food Waste Day

The scale of the global food waste problem is one of the topics of another high-profile date on the calendar: Wednesday 28th April, also known as ‘Stop Food Waste Day.’

The website lists some shocking figures:

  • 33% of all food produced globally is lost or wasted every year
  • 45% of root crops, fruit and vegetables produced globally are lost or wasted every year
  • 25% of the food wasted globally could feed all 795 million undernourished people in the world
  • 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions each year are due to food loss and waste

As well as doing an important job of raising awareness, the website also features some excellent recipes for making delicious use of leftovers, case studies showing how companies have reduced their waste, and a toolkit, which includes digital food waste guides and other “downloadable resources to help raise awareness and inspire change about this global issue.”

Waste-Reduction: Next Steps

As a food manufacturer ourselves, we’ve invested considerable resources into extending product shelf lives but we know that the job doesn’t end here. We’re still engaged in R&D work to extend shelf lives further and to apply similar technologies to other foods, which should offer similar waste-saving characteristics.

We’ve also devoted time and effort to reducing our water and energy consumption in the manufacturing process, and we’ve taken important strides in reducing the volumes of product packaging that we produce. That work continues and we hope to make further announcements shortly.

Spreading the word is also vital, which is why, in April 2021, we were delighted to work with the global sustainability consultancy Anthesis. It has been writing up a case study explaining how we have reduced waste across our operations and how we have encouraged further product and packaging waste reductions throughout our supply chain. The resulting article will be published via a food industry intranet, where we hope it will inspire other producers to find new ways to reduce their environmental impacts.


Food Waste in the News

On 8th April, Bakery & Snacks magazine published an article featuring research from the food waste-minimisation specialist Too Good to Go. It highlighted the alarming levels of waste produced within the bakery sector and identified some of the principal reasons why foods get thrown away uneaten.

According to the research, 33% of respondents reported that the short shelf-lives of their products “play a big role in waste” and a further 31% reported that losses were often due to weather-related changes in demand. In effect, when demand dips, products with shorter shelf-lives often have to be discarded if they cannot be safely stored.

From these findings, it seems that poor shelf-lives are a factor in well over half of all cases of food waste. Worryingly, the research also suggested that over 70% of bakery businesses have no stock management in place to reduce food waste.

Commenting on the findings, Simply Doughnuts MD Shiraz Master said: “If these figures are even close to the truth, they indicate a shocking level of waste within the industry as a whole.

“Businesses could and should be doing more. They can start to address the problem by investing more R&D effort into developing longer shelf-lives for their products. This was our ethos from day one, and it’s been a cornerstone of our success ever since. Retailers are increasingly aware of the need to minimise waste, so it’s short-sighted of any manufacturer to ignore the issue.

“Even worse is the idea that fewer than 30% of bakery businesses have any significant waste minimisation policies in place. Waste isn’t just bad in social and environmental terms; it’s also a direct cost for any business, so it’s astonishing that so few businesses are treating it seriously. The challenge of minimising food waste is only going to attract more attention in the coming years and the winners are going to be the manufacturers that do the most to address it.”

Based on feedback from major retail clients, Simply Doughnuts products achieve some of the lowest food waste scores in the industry. The company has also worked closely with the environmental specialist ENWORKS and other consultants to identify numerous ways to reduce food waste, water-use and energy consumption across all its manufacturing operations.

The company’s efforts to reduce waste and to extend shelf-lives have been the basis for its numerous awards in recent years, including the Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation category) and, most recently, the Bakery Manufacturing Company of the Year in the 2021 Food Manufacture Excellence Awards.


Two More Awards for Simply Doughnuts

On 11th February, we attended a virtual business awards event: the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards 2021. We were shortlisted for the Bakery Manufacturing Company of the Year category back in November, so we were delighted to be announced as the winner on the night.

Better still, later that same evening, we were announced as the winner of a second category: Small Food Manufacturing Company of the Year.

“To win two awards at such a high-profile industry event was amazing,” said company managing director, Shiraz Master. “There were some top companies there as finalists, so we were proud just to be taking part. To go on to win two categories was really gratifying, and testament to all the hard work put in by the whole Simply Doughnuts team.”

In all, 50 finalists competed across 13 award categories.

Entries for the 2021 Food Manufacture Excellence Awards impressed chair of judges Geoff Eaton, who said: “My biggest impression was just the sheer quality of submissions in a period where there’s been such an upheaval, with COVID and everything that’s been going on.”

A full statement by Mr Eaton and Food Manufacture Editor Rod Addy can be viewed in a video here.

A video of the whole awards ceremony can be found here. (The winners are announced from 21m.07s onwards. The Bakery Manufacturing Company of the Year category results are announced at 33m.30s. The Small Food Manufacturing Company category results are announced at 37m.50s.)

Bakery Manufacturing Company of the Year Small Food Manufacturing Company of the Year


Doughnut Manufacturer of the Year

In the final days of 2020 – a year in which we’d already won several awards including the Queen’s Award for Enterprise – we picked up yet another. On 17th December, we heard that we’d been named Doughnut Manufacturer of the Year in the 2020/2021 Prestige Awards for Manchester & North West England.

The award hosts noted that they had introduced the regional awards “to recognise businesses that are extremely successful and hard working on a local level.”

All recognised companies will be listed in the awards book, which is due out in 2021.


Queen’s Award for Enterprise – Trophy

On 5th November, we received a welcome parcel. It contained our Queen’s Award trophy, and a certificate signed by both the Prime Minister and Her Majesty the Queen.

With the trophy came a kind letter from Lord Shuttleworth, Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire who, if had not been for the Covid-19 pandemic, would have made the presentation in person.

His letter said:

“As her Majesty the Queen’s representative in Lancashire, I am writing to congratulate you and all at Simply Doughnuts Limited on the splendid achievement of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2020.

“I am very sorry that the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions prevent me from visiting your company and presenting this award to you in person at the present time. If and when circumstances allow, I would hope to be able to visit at some future date.

“Please convey my congratulations to each and every person working for the company.”

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy originally announced the winners of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise on 21st April 2020. Simply Doughnuts won its award under the category of Innovation.

Queen's Awards for Enterprise - Innovation certificate

The Queen's Award trophy


Food Manufacture Excellence Awards 2021

To round off a year in which we’ve already won the 2020 Queen’s Award for Enterprise (in Innovation) and the Innovation Award in Food Manufacturing 2020, we’ve also been announced as a finalist in the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards 2021.

Simply Doughnuts is a finalist in the Bakery Manufacturing Company of the Year category.

The organisers’ announcement on 3rd November said:

“We are excited to reveal the finalists for the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards 2021, celebrating outstanding achievement within the UK’s fast-growing food and drink industry.

“Every entry went through a stringent judging process involving hours of discussion and debate. Our judges certainly had an unenviable task of putting the shortlist together. We have been absolutely blown away with the level of quality, innovation and excellence on show.”

The Awards are designed to recognise achievement across the food and drink manufacturing industry, considering factors including environmental initiatives, business acumen, business change management, supply chain innovation, young talent and teamwork.

The winners will be announced in an online ceremony on Thursday 11th February.


Innovation Award in Food Manufacturing 2020: Another Win for Simply Doughnuts

Not long after being named a winner of the Queens Award for Enterprise in Innovation, we’ve picked up another prestigious business award. In October, we received news that we’d won the Innovation Award in Food Manufacturing 2020.

The accolade is part of the 2020 Northern Enterprise Awards, which are organised each year by SME News.

On 14th October, the awards team wrote to confirm that we had, in fact, won two awards, stating:

“Following on from your recent nomination acceptance in the 2020 Northern Enterprise Awards, the judging panel have made their final decisions and I am delighted to inform you of the outcome! With absolute pleasure, I can confirm that Simply Doughnuts Ltd has been named:

  • Best Long-Life Doughnuts Manufacturer 2020
  • Innovation Award in Food Manufacturing 2020

“This prestigious award marks the hard work and stellar efforts of those who have helped shape this demanding and dynamic region, and our comprehensive selection and judging process singles out the true market leaders over the past year.”

Responding to the announcement, Simply Doughnuts Managing Director Shiraz Master said:

“We’re grateful to the event organisers and delighted to have picked up two further awards this year. 2020 has certainly been challenging for everyone but these awards are further evidence that our hard work and innovation are paying off.

“The onset of the pandemic saw reduced footfall in most UK stores so, to minimise their risks, many retailers have shifted their emphasis to products with longer shelf lives. This is obviously one of our great strengths and orders have risen accordingly. I’m very proud of all our staff for their effort and dedication under very demanding conditions, and I’m pleased to accept these awards on their behalf.”


Supporting the NHS

In May 2020, we were approached by an NHS mental health nurse from East Lancashire who said she wanted to mark Mental Health Awareness Week by “spreading random acts of kindness amongst the teams and families we support.”

The NHS teams in question provide front-line services for families in East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen, which is of course, where Simply Doughnuts is based. We thought this was a wonderful idea that greatly deserved to be supported, so we readily agreed to provide a free consignment of doughnuts that could be shared out amongst those who would most appreciate them.

Consequently, we made a special delivery to Charlotte Blackburn, the specialist safeguarding practitioner who had originally contacted us. Charlotte is based at Daisyfield Mill in Blackburn and she said she was “over the moon” at the donation.

Describing the background to her plan, she said: “I support the teams within our area who provide safeguarding services – covering issues such as child protection, domestic abuse, mental health and so on. We work closely with a range of colleagues – for example: community mental health teams, district nursing teams, the inpatients team at Pendleview Royal Blackburn and others.

“I’m really passionate about ensuring staff wellbeing, and I really believe that now, more than ever, it’s important to look after our mental wellbeing and feel appreciated in what has been one of the most challenging times we have ever faced. My plan for Mental Health Awareness Week was to surprise some of our teams with random acts of kindness, by way of a ‘thank you’ card and some sweet treats, which always go down well.”

Charlotte’s plan went ahead as planned and she sent us a number of photos to show how well received the doughnuts were.

“I’m absolutely delighted to have been able to support this idea,” said company MD Shiraz Master. “Celebrating kindness is always important, but it was especially good to have been able to do this at a time when NHS staff have been working so hard and under such challenging conditions. Like the whole of the country, we really value NHS staff and all that they do, and this was one small way of showing our appreciation.”


Simply Doughnuts Wins the Queen’s Award for Innovation

Simply Doughnuts is delighted to report that it has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of Innovation. The decision was formally announced by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy on 21st April 2020.

Now in their 54th year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country. HM Government describes them as “a royal seal of approval for the UK’s most outstanding businesses… recognising and celebrating business excellence across the UK.”

In our case, the Award recognises excellence in the field of Innovation. The basis of our application was our pioneering work in food manufacturing techniques that create products with an exceptionally long shelf-life. As a result of staying fresh for much longer than competing products, our doughnuts greatly reduce waste – not only in terms of the food itself but also in terms of packaging, energy and road miles. This will have been a significant factor in the judging process; the application guidance placed considerable emphasis on sustainability, responsible production and reducing global food waste.

“We are absolutely delighted with this award,” said Simply Doughnuts managing director Shiraz Master. “Getting here has taken literally years of effort – lots of testing, research and refinement – plus a massive contribution from the whole manufacturing team.

“But it has all been worth it. We now have products that are hugely successful and way beyond anything our competitors can produce. They save waste, they minimise risks to retailers and, on top of everything, they have enabled us to win the most prestigious business award in the whole of the UK. What more could we ask?”

Simply Doughnuts is one of 220 British businesses to have been recognised with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Later this year, the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire will make a formal presentation of the trophy at our premises in Blackburn.