Circular economy brewery Toast Ale raises £2 million in funding

toast ale

Toast Ale, the “social enterprise” brewery that uses surplus bakery bread, says it has raised over £2 million to grow the “positive impact” of its business.

Investors include the National Geographic Society, Heineken International and sustainable business leader Paul Polman, Toast Ale says.

All investors have committed to Toast’s unique investment model, “Equity for Good”, which requires shareholders to reinvest any capital gains on selling the shares into social impact businesses and funds, Toast Ale says. Investors also do not receive dividends, the brewery says, as all distributable profits go to charity.

Toast Ale says the investment will be used to scale the brewery’s work with bakeries to prevent bread waste. Since the business began in 2016, Toast Ale says it has upcycled 2.9 million slices of surplus bread, working with a small number of bakeries and sandwich manufacturers in the UK.

Funds will support the continued growth of its beer business, Toast Ale says. The brewery continues that funds will also be used for research and development to help more bakeries to prevent waste.

We set out with a mission to brew great beers and spread big ideas that can change the world.

Toast Ale says it has collaborated with 86 breweries since it launched in 2016, supporting them to use surplus bread in their brewing.

However, the brewery says the industry has not yet fully embraced the circular economy due to challenges such as the food-safe sourcing and effective processing of bread, and the efficient use of bread in the brewhouse.

Toast Ale says the investment will enable it to significantly scale its impact, towards its earthshot goal of rescuing 1 billion slices of surplus bread.

Toast Ale says it will work with Heineken as a strategic investor, focusing on research and development, as part of Heineken’s net zero strategy.

Commenting on the funding, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Toast Ale, Louisa Ziane, said: “We set out with a mission to brew great beers and spread big ideas that can change the world, and are proud of the positive impact we have.

“Collaboration has always been key to our strategy for achieving change, and we’re excited to be able to scale our work to support bakeries and breweries to embrace the circular economy.”

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