helsternBaking bread or cake has to be more efficient than ever due to rising energy prices. Operating a half-full oven is hardly financially feasible, and throwing out the bread takes a toll. “People learned to order bread and cake during Corona, it could be the solution now,” says warm baker Kenny van Heusen, 33, of Hellsteren, and the man had to fire staff last week and remove him from his show.
Water is on the lips of many freelancers and this is certainly the case with bakers who consume a lot of energy. Kenny Van Heusen ran Het Bakerspunt in Hilchteren for seven years and had to fire his regular co-worker last week after nearly seven years. “I didn’t see another option,” says Kenny, “I really feel like I’m saying goodbye to a family member. But it quickly cost me €50,000 a year, and with the current crisis I can’t stand it.”
Because for the baker, the general raw materials rose staggeringly, and at the same time energy costs rose dramatically. I paid 4 euros for a kilo of butter six months ago. Today about 11 euros. The price of the flower has also doubled. Energy prices from electricity and gas have gone up tenfold among many fellows, bakers who have been around for 30 years and who are just throwing in the towel or afraid to pull out of it until Christmas. I’m still on a permanent contract, but hold my breath after the settlement.”
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That’s why Van Heusen wants to anticipate that now. “The days of estimating how many loaves I’m going to put on shelves today are long gone. The less you throw away at the end of the day, the better. The more you sell, of course. Sending people away because I didn’t save enough bread isn’t a thing either.” I get about 140 loaves of driven bread in one oven. In the past, I would have supplied a half-oven with extra bread after production, but running a half-empty oven is killer for me.”
The solution according to Kenny: Ask in advance. Since the Corona crisis, this can be done online in many places, but of course also via Messenger on Facebook or by phone. During Corona, people did it en masse, on Sunday the entire store window was full of orders. Now that’s halved again, but it will really help the little baker so he can work in a more targeted way.”
At Albert Heijn I saw how you can get two free tiger loaves with a pot of chocolate. How unfair is this?
Why not sell the surplus for cheaper at the end of the day, you might think? “People suggest it to me, but then you get a bunch that intentionally wait one day, and then I sell at a loss. That’s how the story breaks down too. Supermarkets can do it, I saw on Albert Heijn how you can get two tiger loaves for free with a pot of chocolate How unfair is this?”
Another solution, according to Kenny, is to set a general minimum price for bread. The Bakers’ Union advises us to charge €2.94 for a loaf of bread. I’d keep it at €2.70 for now, but in reality everyone, including supermarkets, has to ask €3, to be fair. In the meantime, I also had to omit and serve five other special types of bread for less. Otherwise, it will remain only white, grey, multi-grain, whole wheat, rye, spelt, and Kenny’s Dark show.”
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