Partner profile: Bakery owners wax lyrical about sustainable packaging move
UNESCO Biosphere Partner Noa Bakehouse – a Douglas baker, coffee roaster, and café – has been reviving artisanal traditions of bread-making since 2013 and has been investing in green practices since its inception, write owners Miles and Pippa Pettit.
Proud members of the Real Bread Campaign – an international initiative to find and share ways of making bread better for communities and the planet – our latest enterprise is a nod to 1950s bread technology and practices, by using compostable and biodegradable wrapping for our tinned loaf range.
This was introduced to our Arran range of granary and white sliced loaves in January 2020 and our potato-based vegan alternative, Spudnik, in April 2020.
Working with the Department for Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA), we sourced a Forest Stewardship Council-certified coral wax paper from IFP, a packaging company based in Ireland.
Designed by award-winning Dublin-based Dave Fitz Design, the designs have brought to life our business’ physical and emotional roots as a modern bakehouse and coffee roasters.
IFP have been instrumental in our switch to more sustainable packaging, and the branded wax wrapper has been a game changer for us, helping us to introduce ‘real bread’ into the mass market supermarket shelves on the Island.
Sourcing a machine that could handle the wax paper was a problem, as such machines no longer exist, until we found a company in Lancashire that rebuilds original 1950s slice and wrap machines, installing modern additions to the original cast iron frames. To date, we are the smallest independent bakery to utilise such a machine.
Making sustainability a big part of our brand persona has been a no-brainer for us, as our eco-friendly and sustainable business has been a major draw for our loyal local/tourist customer base.
We recycle everything we use and we source mainly local products with biodegradable packaging. Any imported products are through an ethical wholesaler and we stringently research the backgrounds of the coffee farms we use.
While the cost of these sustainability practices is significantly higher, we’d prefer to take a hit on the company’s profit margins to ensure we’re creating a cleaner, greener business for our community.
As a recognised partner of UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man, we have pledged to protect the Island’s natural resources, as well as to develop the economy sustainably and make a positive environmental impact where possible.
We value the provenance of ingredients by using local suppliers where possible, and limit products supplied to supermarkets and food outlets in order to reduce food waste. These sustainability efforts support our brand's core values by limiting food miles and reducing our carbon footprint.
The use of our wax wrapping and machinery is an investment in Noa’s future and in the environment, as we’ve always looked at the most sustainable ways of working.
Plastic isn’t the future, so we’ve gone back to what they did in the past. We've been producing healthier alternatives of baked products to give our customers a healthier alternative, without emulsifiers or preservatives.
By supporting Laxey Glen Mills and the local farming community, we’ve been able to build a more sustainable industry and, in turn, offer our team more career opportunities that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to, by staying at our small size.