How to start an online bakery business with an eye on sustainability

By Kayleigh Alexandra

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: GettyImages/Val_Iva/ma_rish
Pic: GettyImages/Val_Iva/ma_rish

Related tags: Sustainability, ecommerce

If you’re starting an online bakery business, it’s worth building sustainability into the very essence of your brand.

Sustainability is at the forefront of the global consciousness at the moment. With climate change and global warming looming increasingly to the fore, the onus is on businesses to ensure they embrace sustainability wherever they can.

Opt for locally-sourced ingredients

One of the best places to start when you’re launching an online bakery business is ingredients.

The carbon footprint of transporting ingredients to your bakery plays a pivotal role, both in its impact on the environment and convincing customers that your online bakery lives up to its green credentials.

Source local ingredients wherever possible. Create relationships with local suppliers – especially small, independent ones – to find ingredients as close as possible to your bakery.

It isn’t always possible to achieve this, of course. You know already that some ingredients can only be found in far-flung countries, so finding local alternatives may be tricky. But make whatever swaps you can – not only is it better for the environment, but it also helps the local economy, strengthening your position as an independent bakery as a result.

Switch to sustainable packaging

Packaging is one of the biggest trouble areas in terms of sustainability for online businesses, bakeries included. It is designed to be thrown away, single-use materials that get used once and once only.

But as environmentalism gets pushed to the fore of the public’s consciousness, there are more sustainable alternatives to traditional packaging. There are myriad recyclable materials that can be used to safely and securely transport your baked goods.

But beyond recyclable cardboard and so on, companies have produced packaging that biodegrades, too.

Packing peanuts, for example, are often made out of starch-based packing peanuts that you can either leave to break down in running water or eat. Even see-through plastic, used for displaying products, can now be swapped out for transparent materials that gradually break down after use in your compost heap.

With so many different types of sustainable materials available to you, there’s no reason why you should embrace them for your online bakery. Shop around and request free samples to ensure you find the right material that works for your goods.

Vocally embrace sustainability

In 2020, sustainable online bakeries will be head and shoulders above their less eco-friendly competition. Consumers today expect brands from every industry to embrace sustainability and environmentalism. Those that fail to do so will fail to retain the next generation of eco-minded consumers.

Take inspiration from other sustainable businesses and look at how you can integrate eco-friendly business practices with your marketing. For instance, many brands implement a social responsibility policy that actively contributes to environmental efforts.

This doesn’t need to necessarily be complex either. As an example, your online bakery could give customers the option to round up their orders to the nearest dollar, with the excess going towards a carbon offsetting programme or an environmental charity.

But beyond actually embracing sustainability in your online bakery, you should also make your environmental commitments visible to your customers.

Shout about your eco credentials and build it into your bakery’s branding.

Rather than being an online snack service with a sustainability policy, be a sustainable online snack service – make it essential to your USP (unique selling point).

If you’re launching your own independent online bakery business and you want to embrace sustainability, the tips above should give you a solid footing. But it’s important to consider at every stage of your business journey: is this the most sustainable way to achieve this?

Kayleigh Alexandra is a member of MicroStartups, a business community that celebrates inspiring startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs. Whether you’re a solopreneur or a startup making your way in the business world, we’re here to help. For the latest news, inspiring stories and actionable advice, follow them on Twitter @getmicrostarted.

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