Rebecca Etter


Innovation at the End of the Bakery Supply Chain: Taking a Bite Out of Returns

Rebecca Etter and Jonathan Deutsch

Bakers give a lot of thought to innovating all along the supply chain: from sourcing and even growing unique grains, to creative approaches to fermentation, shaping, baking, packaging and distribution. Less thought may be devoted to what happens at the terminus of the supply chain if the bread goes uneaten. Despite increased awareness of the problem of food waste and the proliferation of food donation programs, many soup kitchens and shelters continue to turn away bread and sweet baked goods. There is simply too much oversupply. Bimbo Bakeries USA (BBU), the country’s largest baker, approached the Drexel Food Lab to minimize the impact their returns have on the environment. Using the Food Recovery Hierarchy and the Food System Sensitive Model as a starting point, the Drexel Food Lab and students in Drexel’s Department of Food and Hospitality Management, Department of Nutrition Sciences, and Pennoni Honors College worked with BBU to develop opportunities for upcycling unused bread beyond the usual suspects of croutons, stuffing mix, bread pudding, or bread crumbs. In this session, Principal Investigators of this project will share the collaboration model and goals as well as some winning (and losing) ideas that might be of interest to others, from rye rye, to naturally fermented soy sauce, to a dog Frisbee made of compressed and laminated bread. The positive outcomes of this collaboration can yield social, financial, and environmental benefit to bakery professionals and the broader community.

Rebecca Etter is a member of the Grupo Bimbo Global Marketing team, and she joins the group as a Global Marketing Director. 

Previously, she was the Senior Manager of Innovation at Acelerada, a US-based innovation incubator of Grupo Bimbo, where Rebecca designed innovation roadmaps in the bread & baked goods categories for warehouse distribution. 

Prior to joining Grupo Bimbo in 2017, she held innovation roles in the snack, wine, and spirits categories; she worked in ideation and commercialization at KRAVE Pure Foods/The Hershey Company and Diageo.  

Rebecca also spent several years in creative agencies in the United States (Raison Pure, Interbrand and Landor Associates); and three years at Conde Nast Publications as a travel and photo editor for Cookie Magazine.  

Rebecca has a Masters of Professional Studies in Branding from the School of the Visual Arts in New York.