The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Do you accept bread returns?

honey_and_bread's picture

Do you accept bread returns?

I am a home-business-baker, and I met with a local supermarket owner today to pitch my bread. He asked if I accept returns if the bread does not sell, he said this is standard practice. Does anyone know if this is true?

clazar123's picture

I believe large bread manufacturers in my area (midwest USA) take back beyond-the-freshness-date bread and "eat" the cost. That is what he is asking you to do. "If the bread doesn't sell then take it back when it is stale and give me a fresh supply or give me my money back".

Don't believe everything he says as he is trying to get the best deal FOR HIM.

The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

Yes the big guys take back their bread. However they then sell the passed used by date bread in their own outlet shops. I would stick with farmers markets. build a local name for yourself. Once you have a loyal base use the internet for direct marketing.

Mister Bun's picture
Mister Bun

It’s standard practice in the U.K. supermarket business but only with the bigger brands. As a startup without brand recognition you should certainly not agree to these terms of trade. It is exciting to be supplying a supermarket but these guys will take advantage of you. I suggest giving him other incentives, try a rider deal, so he hits certain volumes and you give some money back once he achieves target. Get the calculation right and it is a win win.

Timothy Wilson's picture
Timothy Wilson

Don't think you should agree. It's really a common thing but not for a small bakery. You won't have any profit at all. Supermarkets always buy more bread than sell, because the shelves can't be empty at any time. All bread that they've bought extra will be back. You can't sell it anywhere really. That's really a bad offer.

retired baker's picture
retired baker

Yes you can give me the expired bread ( notice I didn't say leftover) if I can give you less.

Otherwise they will place a big orders to make a nice display... on your dime.

You'll do better dealing with small gourmet shops that actually know what quality products are, supermkts don't have a clue. 

Trent's Bread's picture
Trent's Bread

I guarantee my product. Whether I sell to a supermarket or individual, doesn't matter. Only thing that matters is the bread. 

I "buy back" the loaves that don't sell on the day I drop off my bread.  If I drop bread at noon on Monday, and  if there is one loaf left when they close Monday evening, I buy that loaf back.  I do this because I guarantee my product. I guarantee that if you buy my bread, it will be fresh. In return, the community has supported me so far and I am at a 99% rate of sale month after month. 

Some bread companies will not buy back.

Some will leave their bread on the shelf in their plastic (most made from petrol) bags for a week or more.  It's gross. 

You do as you please. 

gerhard's picture

If you want to be in stores I would look for specialty gourmet type stores were the customers can become loyal to your brand. I know a sort of local bakery that supplies small stores along her route to the markets she sells at. The customers of these stores know the product is only available one day a week and those that want it make the effort to be there those days.