Jonathan Deutsch


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

Jonathan Deutsch and Rebecca Etter

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 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. 

Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D., CHE, CRC is Professor in the Department of Food and Hospitality Management in the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University, and Director of the Drexel Food Lab.

He was the inaugural James Beard Foundation Impact Fellow, leading a national curriculum effort on food waste reduction for chefs and culinary educators, and was named a Food Waste Warrior by Foodtank.

Before moving to Drexel, Deutsch built the culinary arts program at Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York (CUNY) and the Ph.D. concentration in food studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and School of Public Health.

At Drexel, he directs the Drexel Food Lab, a culinary innovation and food product research and development lab, focused on solving real world food system problems in the areas of sustainability, health promotion, and inclusive dining.

He is the author or editor of eight books including Barbecue: A Global History (with Megan Elias), Culinary Improvisation, and Gastropolis: Food and Culture in New York City (with Annie Hauck-Lawson) and numerous articles in journals of food studies, public health and hospitality education. He earned his Ph.D. in Food Studies and Food Management from New York University (2004), his culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America (AOS, Culinary Arts, 1997), and is an alumnus of Drexel University (BS, Hospitality Management, 1999).

A classically trained chef, Deutsch worked in a variety of settings including product development, small luxury inns and restaurants. When not in the kitchen, he can be found behind his tuba.