Original Article


José G. Vargas-Hernándeza, Elsa Patricia Orozco Quijanob
Author Information & Copyright
aResearch professor Postgraduate and Research Division, Instituto Tecnológico José Mario Molina Pasquel y Henríquez, Unidad Zapopan, jose.vargas@zapopan.tecmm.edu.mx
bMaster Lecturer and Researcher, Laurentian University, porozco@laurentian.ca

© Copyright 2022 The Korean Association for Canadian Studies. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: May 18, 2022; Revised: Jun 03, 2022; Accepted: Jun 15, 2022

Published Online: Jun 30, 2022


This study analyses the potential, challenges, and opportunities of sustainability in North American baking industry. It departs from the assumption that the baking industry in Canada, United States and Mexico are facing challenges to adjust its production and distribution operations to the sustainable development goals. The methods employed are the analytical-descriptive approach to the various reports on the sustainability concerns leading to a more reflective outcomes about the reality. It is concluded that the assumptions about the relationship between food policies and sustainable development in North American baking industry led to conclude that is weak, if not lacking, to address all the interconnected and interrelated social, environmental, and economic issues and concerns. In fact, the research findings are directed towards explaining this lack of engagement between policy making and implementation in the baking industry across America to be able to deliver better nutrition, health, and lifestyle to consumers.

Keywords: Baking industry; North America; Canada; United States; Mexico; sustainability


An estimated one in six North Americans succumb to a foodborne bacterial disease in one year, according to DeVault (2018) with estimated data from Centers for Disease Control (2011). Out of that estimation, 130,000 people require hospitalization and 3,000 dye (Eglezos 2010). There are no clear figures for Central American, South American, and Caribbean countries, but it is suspected that the number of deaths caused by foodborne bacterial diseases are very high.

In this study, it is discussed in a wider perspective and context issues and concerns related to sustainable baked food options for choices and their impact that these have on food preferences which underlie the findings on achieving sustainability in the baking industry across America. This analysis is more explicitly considered as food safety and security based on food culture and heritage linking policy making and implementation at national and local levels with sustainable development of natural and environmental resources, water, renewable energies, etc., which contribute to mitigate emission of gases and climate changes while attending the potential to offer baked goods that deliver healthier and more nutritious lifestyle.

While there is an overwhelming number of studies and research examining the issues related to sustainable development, it requires substantially more attention the analysis of food in the baking industry at global, international, national, and local levels.

Studies on baking industry have focused on issues related to social and environmental consequences of genetically modified organisms, the threat of globalization consumption tendencies on traditional food cultures and practices, negative impacts of meat production and consumption, organic food, consumer practices (Pottier, Klein, Watson, 2016; Klein, 2009; Wilk, 2016; Hull, Klein, Watson, 2016).

Specifically, the analysis focuses on the potential, challenges, and opportunities that the North American baking industry has in relation to its sustainable development, social and economic concerns, and their impact and effects on nutrition, health, and lifestyle. This study on the sustainability of cross American Baking Industry is divided to facilitate the analysis in three main topics. Fosterable, it begins conceptualizing the sustainability to lead to the second topic, the impact and implications in Cross American baking industry which includes some details related to their reality, challenges, and opportunities. The third topic is about some of the sustainability concerns in the baking industry.


The Sustainable Development Goals evolved from the former Millennium Development Goals have prompted feracious debates at all levels of governments and sectors on how to address the multiple issues and problems leading to policy making. Inevitably, food production and consumption preferences and choices, access, sovereignty, and safety are linked to environmental problems and concerns, have an impact on the dynamics derived from climate change concerns across a wide range of areas including price stability and utilization (Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations 2009; Carlsson-Kanyama, 1998Vermeulen, Campbell, Ingram, 2012).

Food security has been a common challenge throughout human history, although the concept has evolved with the industrial food systems (Carney, 2012; Maxwell, 1996; Maxwell, Devereux, 2001). As an umbrella concept, food security is context-specific nutritional dimension (Pottier, Klein, Watson, 2016; Gibson, 2012). According to the Agriculture Organization (FAO), food security exists when people have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that allow them to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for a more active and healthy life. It is also a necessity to be able-bodied and to maintain good health (Wakefield et al., 2015). Food securities are supported by availability, access, utilization, and stability (Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations 2009). Food security is being recognized as more of a threat as a result of companies recalling contaminated foods and rising obesity rates associated with the quality food being consumed. We see a correlation between food security and the Canadian experience. Several factors contribute to this correlation including poor food distribution, food access thwarted by social impediment, the limitation of a healthy lifestyle caused by food and other environmental hurdles (Wakefield et al., 2015).

The different domains of nature are interrelated, interdependent and interconnected among the energy, water, and food, etc. and must be addressed like that (Hoff 2011). The connections between some of the sustainable development goals are very weak, lacking structure and transparency, as for example the goal on hunger and food biosecurity is connected to equality, health, infrastructure ecosystem protection, climate change, disasters, etc., yet there is not any reference to any potential interconnection among water, energy, food, etc. Food biosecurity resilience is the ability to deal with shocks, risks including food safety, stress in production, distribution, and consumption of food without increasing the risks of hunger, malnutrition and food borne diseases.

The nexus approach refers to the connections between climate, food, energy, and water. These connections between the domains of energy, water, food, and climate, etc., have originated a nexus approach reflecting the growing concerns on examining the links between resource and food biosecurity, energy policies, etc., among others (Allouche et al. 2015; Hellegers et al. 2008). The proponents of the nexus approach sustain that the energy, water, food, and climate sectors are interconnected in such a way that actions in one sector may have an impact on the other two. Water has been identified as the most crucial domain that influences all other domains (World Economic Forum 2011). The interconnections among these three domains are crucial and not limited only to these sectors.

The nexus approach between water, energy food, energy, and climate domains focus on the identification, demonstration and modeling the interrelationships and connections supported by the argument these domains are under pressure and demands by the growing trade-offs among the sustainable development goals, the economic growth and population growth leading to an acceleration of the ecosystem degradation (Bazilian et al. 2011; Rothausen and Conway 2011; Scott et al. 2011; Hoff 2011; Hermann et al. 2012; Bizikova et al. 2013; Howells et al. 2013; Howells and Rogner 2014). In Canada, there is an abundance of natural resources which begets a certain agricultural competitiveness as well as promotes innovation. Due to this number of resources, Canada has aided many other countries with food security, but there are still households that suffer from food security in this country, including 80% of Aboriginal households in Nunavut (Wakefield et al. 2015).

The different domains are intrinsically interconnected leading to growing concerns on resource biosecurity that results from food and energy crisis and must be governed by linking energy and food biosecurity policies (Allouche et al. 2015, Hellegers et al. 2008). Food in bio insecurity is a threat to public health, social sustainability, and political stability Another concern is keeping low food prices and accessible to low income consumers to avoid the risk of food bioinsecurity.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has indicated that there would be effects on food in the near future due to climate change and the scientific evidence that is coming out shows concerns about the impact of the changes on food security. The same is evidenced in Canada, especially in northern and Indigenous communities. Some of the climate changes that are impacting the food and causing insecurity are: reduced ice on lakes and sea, the thawing of the permafrost, wildfires, freezing rain and other extreme weather such as shorter winters and hotter summers. Unfortunately, there is not enough knowledge in most pathways related to this topic in Canada because there hasn’t been enough attention put towards the relationship between climate change and food safety and nutrition. In 2011-2012, it was estimated that 12.6% of Canadian households suffered from food insecurity and the rates being the highest in the North. In order to address the effects of climate change on the Canadian food industry, a more collaborative approach is necessary to come up with a framework that illustrates the relationship between the two and therefore be more proactive in letting health officials and their partners prepare Canadians for the future. (Schnitter & Berry, 2019)

A sustainable feeding people requires disruptive changes in supply chains of food able to reduce losses and waste (United Nations, 2019; Sundström et al., 2014; Kearney, A. T. 2019). Food waste refers to the discarding of safe and nutrition’s food for human consumption. Food waste is discarding the safe and nutritious foods, and food loss is the lost supplies along the food supply chain between the producer, the market, and consumers. Food losses and waste occurs due to problems in processing, handling, packing, refrigerating, transportation, storage and retail because of infrastructure inadequacies, inefficient supply chains, improper packaging, inappropriate legal and incentive system frameworks, custom clearance, etc. In Canada, we’ve seen a lot of food waste from overproduction on farms as recorded by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). Along with food waste comes increased food consumption, however considering the fact that the number of calories in food is on the rise, we buy more and eat less which produces even more waste. One of the factors associated with the rise of consumption is food security and yet, it is also one of the benefits of reducing food waste, trapping Canadians in a vicious cycle (Martin, et al., 2013).

Most of proteins and edible energy are lost in the conversion from plant to animal-based food. The wasted and lost foodstuffs represent around one third of food produced and around 8% of global greenhouse emissions. Reducing food losses and waste is a challenge and opportunity for business (Unilever, 2019). It is suggested that quantifying food waste may help consumers be mindful when buying groceries and may influence producers and manufacturers to rethink their production to reduce waste. There are many benefits to this strategy such as reduced energy consumption and GHG emissions, increased sustainability within communities, increasing farmer wages, waste awareness, availability of food and the promotion of a thriving economy (Abdulla et al., 2013).

Sustainable food biosecurity requires availability or production of food, access, nutritional sufficiency, and safety, and stable conditions (Helland and Sörbö, 2014). Food safety and food biosecurity are complementing aims for achieving better quality while reducing scarcities and enhance freedom from hunger. Food is best before dates of increasing waste and losses and becoming poisonous threatening food biosecurity, as well massive and not targeted recalls to safety concerns lead to food waste.

Limited supplies and lack of access to nutritious and safe foods are threats to food biosecurity affecting more the low-income consumers who may trigger social unrest (Bazerghi et al., 2016; Arezki and Brückner, 2011, Helland and Sörbö, 2014; Johnstone and Mazo, 2011). Reducing food waste and losses and waste is a political objective. These wasted and lost foodstuffs amount around one fourth of the energy content of food production representing a potential for improvement of food biosecurity and the opportunity to feed hungrier people.


The cross American market for bakery products is fragmented due to national, regional, and local competitive bakery companies with their own strategic approaches to implement, boost and maintain their competitive brand presence in a market share among the consumers. Some of these strategies are the market expansion, partnerships, mergers, strategic alliances, joint ventures, acquisitions, etc. The Cross American countries have witnessed a steady consumption growth of bakery and bread products due to an increasing demand in a market driven by healthy nutrition, accessibility, instant products, convenience. The trend towards consumption of nutritious and healthy bakery products is increasing the demand of organic and ancient grains, custom blends, wheat flours, rich in proteins and nutrients, and the minimum processing with lesser preservatives and trans fats.

Health-consciousness orientation is an innovation trend dominating the market of bakery products catered with the launching of new products containing wholegrain, fibers gluten- free and other healthy ingredients, associated with high value and price. Packaging innovation tend for more portable and single-self-serving increasing the foodservice outlets.

The market of cross-America bakery products is segmented by types of products: cakes and pastries, bread, biscuits & Cookies, and Morning Goods. Regarding the distribution channel of these products the main are the hypermarkets, supermarkets, specialty stores, convenience stores, online retailing, and others (Mordor intelligence, 2022). Commercial bakeries are the top sellers of baked goods in the United-States and the same can be see od their Canadian allies. These bakeries sell to supermarkets, hotels, schools, and many other retailers, however due to the perishable nature of products, they do not distribute internationally. (Dun & Bradstreet, 2022).

The most active companies dominating the bakery market are the Kellogg, Hostess Brands, Bimbo Bakeries, Canyon Bakehouse, Allison’s Bread, Mondelēz, Dave’s Killer Bread, Boudin Bakery, among others in the market of United states. Bakeries, including tortilla manufacturing companies in Canada is the second largest food manufacturing sector and it is the fastest growing food sector with a growth rate of 5.4% as an average since 2015. COVID-19 has created some opportunities and challenges although the growth for Canadian bakeries depends on food service rebounds, exports, and labor. One challenge is the call for shifting towards the usage of eco-friendly green packaging with less plastic to continue post-pandemic, although the costs will increase the price and not all consumers are willing to pay more (Burak, 2020).

Due to the enhancing healthy lifestyle concept in North American countries, there is an increasing demand for healthy bread containing whole grain, high in fiber, and gluten-free. In Latin American countries, competition among bakery manufacturers is uneven due to the informal distribution channels and diversity of bread products. Demand for bakery, bread and tortilla products in México has been strong and will continue and industry revenue has increased but is being pushed down due to the wheat supply and the dynamics of the exchange rates (Research and market 2022).

In Canada, there is a need for companies to be held responsible for offering healthier and better nutritional products, including reformulation of some of their products on the market. This will lead to an improvement in the food supply (Vergeer et al., 2020). Improving the composition of existing food can be done by removing some of the nutrients such as sugar and saturated fats or by adding nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals. When replacing nutrients such as sugar, it is sometimes necessary to replace it with more than one ingredient because of all the benefits it can provide, such as preservation, bulk-forming, permit yeast growth, control moisture, balance freezing point, etc. which will in turn lead to changing the levels of energies of the product and not necessarily improving its nutritional value. Not a lot of progress has been made in the attempts at reformulating products by reducing the amount of sugar, although it has been shown that it is possible to lower the amount of sugar in some foods. More efforts need to be put forward to achieve this sugar reduction strategy in Canada, such as examining new product introduction, and looking at data from sales (Bernstein et al., 2020).

In México, the bakery industry comprises the manufacture of bread, biscuits, pastas for soup, frozen bakery products, corn tortillas, flour tortillas and other pre-mixed flours including mill nixtamal (IbisWorld 2022). The growing population, the improving economic conditions, an emerging market and the rising living standards in México is leading towards growth in bakery production, bread, and rolls despite the rising prices that are damaging the purchasing power of middle classes. In Mexican food culture, consumers are looking for more convenient, easy, and quick meals.

Bakery products are available across all distribution’s channels but is growing fast in modern retail chains as consumers are attracted, in part, as the result of demand for a healthier food, the influence of culture and the marketing power, which affect the consumption habits to demand pastries, cakes, sweet biscuits and cookies, sweet pies, et. Healthy food concerns for busy consumers are a growing adoption of ready-made pastries and cakes (Report Linker (2022). The biggest companies sharing the market include Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV, Flowers Foods, El Paso Baking Co., Campbell Soup Company and Panaderia Rosetta.

Mexico is the second largest baking market in Latin-America and the eight largest world-wide. Grupo Bimbo, a Mexican producer and commercial bakery company is the world’s largest. However, there are many medium, small, and micro business called “panaderías” that have altogether the largest share of the Mexican market. The Mexican market of bread and bakery food is served by more than 45,000 bakeries out of which 97% is micro-businesses. The manufacturing and commercial operations of Grupo Bimbo encompasses South American, central American, Caribbean, and South and southern west of United Sates (Baking Business. Com 2022).

The Latin American market of baking industry is dynamic, diverse, and complex that requires good knowledge economic, social, cultural, geographic, and political experience to understand the consumer behavior patterns shopping and spending in specific regions, countries, and localities. Baking industry in Latin America is highly segmented growing rapidly in a very competitive market going through long-term transformation, although the pace of change varies across the different countries. The Latin American market of baked goods has been growing and expanding at an average annual rate of 7.09% from 2018-2023 (Baking Business 2022).

In Latin America, local fresh bakery products, from the farm-to-fork and artisan, it’s a way of life to enjoy in demographically, economically, and culturally diverse market where international tendencies of food movements coincide with the local deep-rooted food traditions and heritage. The bakery industry in Latin America elaborates their baking and bread products for households based in artisan bakeries with traditional knowledge and skills and only a minimum percentage of bakeries is implementing new technologies. So far, traditional bakeries resist and refuse to disappear.

In Canada, the baking industry is represented by the Baking Association of Canada. We’ve seen a decline in the number of bakeries in Canada over the years. In 1939, there were 3231 bakeries, in 1981 there were only 1431and by 1997, 523 were left that were considered “bakeries”, meaning they baked and sold their own products (Barratt, 2016).

Brand-building initiatives of bakery companies develop trust which pay off in the long run by meeting and exceeding the expectations of consumers who usually become loyal, despite the price sensitivity. Latin American consumers are willing to trade up the best choices when they get more value with a limited budget, which in turn leads to rely on known brands and not accept to go wrong on private labels. Additional organic and natural ingredients of baked goods based on different natural and organic grains and seeds to provide nutrition and texture is a trend that continues to grow. Some examples of this diversification of baked goods are on the shelfs, such as cakes and pastries having a mixture of salty and sweet ingredients, bred with chocolate, butter popcorn and caramel, trail seed mix with salty nuts and chocolate (Baking Business. Com 2022).

The Latin American market dynamics of bakery products are fueling growth in high density urban areas. In Latin American Countries, there is a tendency to local innovation, although industry must be aware of the consumers price sensitivity. Consumers prefer artisanal bakery cakes, pastries, and breads to packaged baked goods produced by commercial bakeries who are garnering their market share and compete through diversification, expansion, reformulation, and repackaging. However, traditional small bakeries are forced by the market competition to survive. Latin American consumers of frozen baked goods are preferring quick-service of frozen and convenient bakery foods among artisans, catering, supermarkets, and hypermarkets. In Canada, small bakeries are pushed to offer specialized goods in order to compete with larger supermarkets. They will often offer faster and more convenient delivery mediums in order to attract more customers to their bakeries. There is a large demand for baked goods to have longer shelf lives without compromising the integrity of the products with preserving agents or other additives. This lead is to what is referred to as par-baking where baked goods are partially cooked then frozen. This allows for a lasting freshness and it’s as simple as heating it up to consume (Dun & Bradstreet, 2022).

Recent regulations on labeling prevent marketing of baked goods, snacks, cookies, and sweet goods to target an obesity epidemic that affects more than half the Latin American population, and to caution consumers about products that have saturated fats, high in sugar and calories. This regulation has prompted Grupo Bimbo to innovate in healthier products. Similar initiatives are being developed by bakery companies in Chile, Uruguay, Perú, etc. Chile in 20016 and México in 2020 are the leading countries in Latin America on health initiatives in regulating wellness and health with mandatory warning labels on packaged foods and beverages aimed to caution on the consumption of baked goods that are high in sugar, calories sodium and saturated fats. These health regulations on baked food enable consumers to opt for healthier consumption. In Canada, there are similar guidelines suggesting no more than 5% to 10% of daily expended energy should be fueled by sugar. There were labeling policies put in place in 2016 obliging manufacturers to present the daily value percentage of sugar in the products in an effort to help Canadians who are looking to reduce their sugar consumption. In 2018, 1 in 5 Canadian consumers admitted to wanting less sugar in their diets. This change in demand has forced companies to produce healthier products or revaluate the sugar content in existing products (Bernstein et al., 2020).

In Canada, policies and programs are also being put in place because it is thought that the attitude people have about healthy eating could be changed if healthier food choices were put forward in the food industry. Some of those policies include making the dietary guidelines stronger and regulating the food industry when it comes to products of low-nutritional value. Since a lot of the food consumed by Canadians are packaged foods, it is important for them to be aware of the marketing associated with these foods, whether it be nutrient content claims or health-related ingredient claims. Making the public aware is part of the Canadian Food Guide’s (CFG) goal. Although the packaged food that is marketed is more likely to meet the Canadian Food Guide’s guidelines, customers need to be aware that certain foods that aren’t as healthy and not encouraged by the CFG are also being marketed (Franco-Aranello et al., 2019).

Other Latin American nations are following these initiatives with their own to focus on health and nutritious food. The Pan American Health organization (PAHO) has launched the Nutrient Model to discourage consumption of identified unhealthy products. Brazil, Ecuador, and Costa Rica have issue regulations on front-of-packaging labeling of bakery goods and food marketing to school children. These regulations are shifting consumption from processed baked foods such as biscuits and bread toward organic, nutritious, and more fresh food.

In Canada, strategies have been put in place in 2016 and 2017 to revise Canada’s Food Guide in order to promote the importance of the nutritional value of foods. One way to do this is to provide simple and exact labeling on food products to help customers make better choices when buying foods, to help them assess the impact of the food they buy on their health, hoping they will avoid too many processed and prepared foods that are high in sugar, fat or sodium. (Franco-Aranello et al., 2019)

Logistics and distribution are the bakery operations that have an impact in urban and rural areas where there are diverse point of sales offering the wide array of baked goods that must be fresh by the time consumers needed. Basic infrastructure for the network of distribution represents a challenge for any wholesale baker to launch low-expenditure and longer shelf-life goods to overcome the complexities of the regional logistics and distribution network. The Mexican Bimbo bakery company is famous in reaching every morning the localities more remote of the Mexican territory.

The baking industry in Brazil in 2018 had more than 63,000 traditional bakeries with sales approaching US $30 billion (Baking Business. Com 2022). The Brazilian baking industry is intending to offer a diversification of baked organic and artisanal goods to achieve a better market positioning in a competitive market of local manufacturers that offer many options appealing for consumers of baked goods based on whole grain, added nutrients, gluten-free.

Several global and local commercial bakery industry, food and beverages brands are investing in advanced technology to be identified, applied, and adapted in production and distribution processes.

In Canada, we’ve seen major changes in the baking industry over the last 40 years. Technology is responsible for the larger production operations and access to roads and rails have led to better distribution capability. The improvements in the packaging have resulted in a longer shelf life for the products; the packaging guidelines being overseen by Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada. Because a central plant can easily ship its products 800 km away, this has led to fewer smaller plants. In 1973, with 1690 plants operating and employing 28 000 workers, the value of the industry’s shipped goods was 598.4 million. In 1997, the number of employees had dropped to 20 344 but its sales had gone up to 2,7 billion. (Barratt, 2006)

The baking industry is going through significant growth and transformation in Latin American countries through different pace of changes subject to the economic development, increasing urbanization, food patterns, use of new technology in producing and processing, etc. The emerging consumer sectors in Latin America is gradually changing habits of accessibility and consumption based on pre prepared and packaged foods. Because many of the Latin American urban dwellers in emerging middle and upper income of the market segments of consumers live similar lifestyles, convenient access to baked goods on-the-go breakfast and smaller-portion snacks bringing benefits of time saving and enhanced taste, leading to bakery companies to experiment with diversity of new branded goods. In Canada, most production factories are automized to optimize production rates and simplify distribution of fresh baked goods (Dun & Bradstreet, 2017). Many marketing efforts are directed towards children, specifically baked treats with high sugar content which is an aspect the government has planned to reduce over the past few years. The Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI) has been monitoring marketing efforts and acquiring partnering brands like Weston Bakeries Limited, Kraft, Hershey, Kellogg, and many other big names to follow their guidelines to market products to more suitable audiences (Mulligan et al., 2018).

Global sustainability concerns are taking greater relevance in Latin American such as losses waste food that have effects on food supply and prices due to the lack of infrastructure and physical capital, the conduct of the distribution channels, sales points, and consumers, etc. The impact on the sustainability of food systems leads to increasing prices for consumers, lower profits for producers and distributors, reduced food availability, safety, and security food, etc. Similar sustainability issues have risen in Canada including an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural origins, an increase in food insecurity, the rise of food prices and world hunger. The country is experiencing food waste increases reaching 27 billion Canadian dollars, equivalent to 40% of food produced in Canada. Many farms are overproducing, sharing the concern in Latin America of long-term sustainability due to lack of infrastructure (Abdulla et al., 2013). Contributing to food insecurity is poverty and considering the rising food prices, this poses an issue for over 4 million people in Canada (Public Policy Forum, 2016).

Regarding sustainability concerns, most of the large companies in the baking industry across America are conscious about the use of alternative energies ensuring access to more reliable, affordable, sustainable, and clean energy, such as fuel cells for onsite electricity generation to mitigate or reduce carbon emissions. Renewable energy technologies drive sustainable development of the baking industry leading to adapt new and transfer innovative technologies in collaborations between the baking companies and across countries. However, national policies have an influence on the development of more efficient and sufficient energy production demanded by the bakery industry.

The baking industry across America is aware of its contributions to sustainable development framed by the green economy and based on the interdependence of the use of renewable natural resources, water, and energy. Ensuring the sustainable management and availability of water connected to food and climate change, contribute to economic development and a more sustainable environment. Bakery companies must ensure safe water consumption as an ingredient in their production processes, as well as in protecting human health, for instance, by spreading knowledge about water usage and handling wastewater. The estimated volumetric blue and green freshwater consumption in production and distribution processes in the bakery industry may lead to reduce the water footprint.

The water and energy consumption at the Cross America bakery companies used for production and distribution operations should be frame by the sustainable development goals. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has addressed the nexus between concerns and policies on water, energy, and food as interconnected, interactive, and interdependent concerns. Transnational, regional, national, and local problems of availability of fresh water affect food, energy, health, and other areas of a resilient sustainable development. A regional focus of the Latin America water is concerned and connected to the bakery production companies to implement practices of sustainable environmental development.

The production, distribution and consumption of baked cakes, cheesecakes and pies contribute to sectorial impacts, despite the low impact at product level. Cupcakes has the lowest contribution due to the low level of consumption relative to other bakery products. Food access is affected by preferences and choices encompassing economic, sociocultural, environmental, and religious values which have an influence on consumer demand of certain types of baked food. Social value is a component of food utilization that provides socio cultural and religious benefits (Ingram, 2011).

Socio-economic, education and cultural background have a role in supporting consumers to make informed decisions when it comes to choosing bakery products. Cultural knowledge is relevant for the consumers to make food choices and preferences. Food is a form of cultural heritage that have an impact on food preferences and choices supported by outcomes of environmental concerns, social context, economic growth, and food culture. Cultural acceptability of baked food is an element of food security concept contributing to the basic needs and wellbeing of consumers beyond the nutritional adequacy (Maxwell, Smith, 1992). In Canada, there is a particularly concerning issue regarding food security in aboriginal communities. This insecurity weighs heavy on the mental health of those affected as well as contributes to high obesity rates as families are forced to buy less costly, unhealthy foods and this often leads to diseases like diabetes. In circumstances such as these, baked goods need to occupy a smaller part of the community’s diet in order to have a balanced nutrition, however a need to reduce is often viewed as a need to cut out. This is not sustainable for the individual nor is it for the baking industry. This all returns to having access to knowledge regarding proper nutrition that is also lacking in these secluded areas in the north of Canada (Public Policy Forum, 2016).

Food preferences and decisions of consumers of bakery products are framed by forms of cultural heritage and cultural knowledge linked to environmental variables such as the diversity of natural resources, food security and climate change (Kapelari, Alexopoulos, Moussouri, Sagmeister, Stampfer, 2020). The Food Consumption Scores methods used to measure food security have been criticized because it does not consider the historical context and its complexities on local specific parameters (Pottier, Klein, Watson, 2016; pp. 153–154).

The analysis of the consumer behavior of bakery products is important to determine the market demand of the baking industry. There is a wide range of motives and preferences that consumers of bakery products have when making choices. Consumers adopt eating behaviors based on a sociocultural, economic, and environmental background and supported by food preferences and choices and food security. Local baking industry must attend to local sociocultural contexts (Pottier, 1999).

Baking manufacturing operations vary depending on the type of product, but the core include mixing, forming, baking, filling, finishing, and packing processes before the production goes into the distribution and marketing. Some of the products are the cakes, pies, cheesecake biscuit, etc. After the manufacturing process, the bakery products are shipped to the distribution centers to be temporarily stored and then subsequently sent to the different sales points such as the retailers to be displayed and available for purchasing. Manufacturing, distribution and transportation use packaging materials and shopping bags to facilitate distribution and marketing operations of the products to be contained, handled, and transferred to the final consumer (Konstantas, Stamford, Azapagic, 2019b).

The pie has the highest global warming potential (GWP) becoming the best alternative. Manufacturing has a high impact of global warming potential. The best option for environmental impacts including global warming potential are the pies, although they are the worst option on ecotoxicity. Cheesecake followed by the pie have the higher human toxicity impact while the best alternative are the whole cakes (Konstantas, Stamford, Azapagic, 2019b). Regarding the highest level of photochemical oxidants formation (POF) is incurred by the cheesecake and lowest by whole cakes.

The main hotspot across the cakes, are some specific raw materials such as butter, milk powder, eggs, soft cheese, and sugar. Butter accounts for the higher percentage of global warming potential of whole cakes. Raw materials of baked cakes such as butter, sugar and palm oil are the most critical hotspot that have an impact on environment and contribute to the different life cycles stages. Phosphate releases is a hotspot for milk powder, cheesecake, and soft cheese production are high at the farming stage and flour for whole cakes, cake slices and cupcakes. The mineral depletion (MD) of cheesecake is higher than any other cake caused by the impact of raw materials production and transport due to the use of iron, chromium, copper, and nickel in infrastructure and equipment (Konstantas, Stamford, Azapagic, 2019b).

The environmental impact should have the lowest level of products such as the whole cakes ranking top with cake slices that have the lowest freshwater eutrophication despite of some toxicity potential. Freshwater ecotoxicity (FET) and marine ecotoxicity (MET) show similar trend across the different bakery products with the lowest levels in whole cakes and the highest levels in cheesecake The hotspots of marine ecotoxicity are the raw materials with the major sources of the impact are the releases of copper, nickel, and zinc as well as the end of life stages (Konstantas, Stamford, Azapagic, 2019b). Cheesecake is the least environmentally sustainable impact with the higher level of ecotoxicity than any other bakery products. The cheesecake has the higher levels of terrestrial acidification than pies and other type of cakes.

Pesticides used in agriculture, chlorine and phosphorus are the major cause of terrestrial ecotoxicity (TET). The cheesecake has also the highest impact on primary energy demand (PED) per kg. Whole cakes have the lowest primary energy demand. The cheesecake has the higher ozone depletion (OD), and it has also the highest fossil fuel depletion (FFD) among all other bakery products followed by cupcakes. Contributions across all products to fossil fuel depletion (FFD) with high percentages are the raw materials and manufacturing process. The cheesecake has as primary sources of FFD impact the milk and soft cheese and the whole cakes have the lowest fossil fuels depletion (Konstantas, Stamford, Azapagic, 2019b).

In Canada, many consumers are weary of consuming foods grown using pesticides due to the health risks associated. Several processing systems have been developed to reduce traces of pesticides in a variety of foods, however baking is not a suitable technique. It was found that the process of baking actually added more traces of pesticides due to their chemical nature. This means the ingredients used to produce bread, for example, must be treated by a washing or some other processing method before its baking to ensure minimal pesticide contamination. It is optimal to perform a combination of techniques to reduce chemical residue by at least more than 50% (Keikotlhaile et al., 2019).

Cheesecake requires more urban land occupation (ULO) and agricultural land occupation (ALO) than the other cakes and do not vary in other products. Raw materials, packaging and transport requires urban land occupation in industrial buildings and roads. Whole cakes and cupcakes reduce urban land occupation due to recovery of energy and materials. Cheesecake requires more natural land than pie and whole option.

Some bakery products such as the cheesecake requires storage refrigeration that must be assumed in an energy saver refrigerator (Siemens, 2015). The difference between frozen and ambient-storage cakes is made of production and leakage of refrigerants. Composting is created and developed out of the apple peel and other organic ingredient losses and waste in manufacturing process as well as for post-consumer baked food such as cake waste. This system of composting can be credited as an organic fertilizer for displacing equivalent and similar number of chemical fertilizers.

Economic allocation of resources has been observed in reductions of cheesecake environmental impacts in areas such as natural land transformation, agricultural land occupation, terrestrial acidification, marine eutrophication. The cheesecake effects have an impact on the amount of raw milk to produce milk powder used. Whole cakes observed reduction in ozone depletion and pies with urban land occupation.

Sensitive analysis considers the packaging effects on the results in manufacturing and refrigerated storage processes though the distribution chain of bakery products. Cheesecake product needs of frozen storage subject to the uncertainty of electricity consumption. Uncertainty analysis of the impacts of the ambient-storage baked cakes change less than the impacts of cheesecakes. The large amount of packaging cupcakes during post-consumption waste management benefits the recycling. Recycling of materials as a waste management practice, green water and green energy consumption create savings in water footprint. The primary material packaging for cupcakes is made from virgin fibers due to food regulations (Ecoinvent 2010). The packaging losses have an impact on the increase of fossil fuel depletion and the water footprint.

The nature of baked cake manufacturing requires permanent cleaning of production facilities leading to loss of ingredients and some finished products. Unfortunately, Canada’s food industry consists of a lot of ultra processed products; it represents half of Canadians’ daily intake. In the past hundred years, we have seen a lot of advancement in technology and manufacturing systems in the food industry to improve shelf-life, safety, taste and economy. The Canadian food market is therefore inundated with packaged, processed and prepared foods (Vergeer et al., 2019). Although we would conclude that this would have a negative effect on Canadians’ health, studies have not been conclusive in establishing this fact. Not all processed foods have shown to have a lower nutritional value. We, therefore, cannot label a product as healthy or not based on the fact that it is processed. It would be more important to look at the amount, how often these foods are consumed and the combination of processed foods to get a clearer picture. When choosing foods, it is important to look at energy and nutrient density instead of its processing classification since there are foods, processed or not, that are both high in energy and in nutrient density (Vergeer et al., 2019).


A rapid urbanization process poses a challenge to food biosecurity for urban consumers to being able to have access to food in places where the socioeconomic safety nets are incomplete. Baking industry is food manufacturing. Food baking industry and manufacturers try to provide safe products to their customers employing safety and quality processes taking a proactive approach to food safety by avoiding financial risks out of recalls from potential contamination sources. Proximity to the product and the potential risk to contamination are considered to classify in zones the production facilities in relation to the product. Zone 1 refers direct contact to product. Zone 2 includes non–food-contact in the processing area and the pathways. Zone 3 is the area of immediate contacting leading to contamination by means of accidental human traffic and machines and zone 4 are the remaining areas including storage.

Gluten contamination is a big security issue in the food industry. According to a study by Valdés et al. in 2003, one-third of the 3000 products that were tested in Europe, had more than 20 mg of gluten per kg. It has also been shown that a lot of oat-based products from the United States and Sweden also contained gluten. It is important to be able to reassure the customers suffering from Celiac Disease (CD) that the food they’re buying is safe. We see a lot more labels such as “May contain gluten” and “Made in a wheat processing plant”. The study by Valdés et al. from 2003 shows the importance of proper labeling since contamination is still an issue for those who suffer from CD and the importance of further research to determine the extent of foods containing gluten not being reported (Gélinas et al., 2007).

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) shares information on how to assess the risks and to control allergen cross-contact in the Food manufacturing industry. The Food and Drug Regulations has identified twelve food allergens that need to be indicated on labels in the ingredients list. Unfortunately, Food Business Operators (FBO), are not guided enough as to how to put this information into action and how to include it in their programs on safety and quality management. The allergy action levels that are proposed in this study would benefit the food manufacturing companies and help evaluate the need for Precautionary Allergen Labeling (PAL). Having up to date Canadian-based food consumption data is important to be able to impose allergen action levels; this would provide information for the people in charge of risk management and could be integrated in PAL to make the process more standardized (Manny et al., 2021).

Unfortunately, PAL is not present on all types of food. In a study done in 2013 by Pele et al., 2007 and Zuorlo et al., 2013, allergens were found more in products such as cookies and chocolate than in cereal and baked goods (Manny et al., 2020). In a survey that was done in North America in 2017 by Marchisotto et al., only 40% of people with allergies were buying products identified with PAL. There is little data in Canada, especially when it comes to milk and eggs; it is therefore important to obtain more data on the amounts of food labeled with PAL that have these two products to better assess the risks to allergic people and then to improve the PAL labeling on foods (Manny et al., 2020).

Potential contaminants in the baking-handling industry environments are ever-present being introduced through raw materials, energy, water, the physical environment including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems know as HVAC, pests, employees, and other food products, etc. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued several warnings about the potential dangers of eating raw flour in bakery products such as cakes and cookie dough (U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2016). Flour often undergoes a kill step through baking during production, although salmonella was in food-poisoning outbreaks (Eglezos, 2010; Neil, 2009).

The long-term food biosecurity has become a matter of national and local policy making concern driving to the development of novel sources of food safety and resilient supply chains. Food resilience can be enhanced by eating the cereals mixed in the baked cakes. The nexus approach focuses on the interconnectivity between different domains, as in education, health, and food that are linked on the community-based cooking learning programs on nutritional food (Iguchi et al. 2014).

Sustainability in the baking industry must reduce resources, environmental footprints and eliminate food waste and losses. The environmental, economic, and social impacts from production, distribution and consumption of baked cakes may vary from product to product. Consumers want to purchase their baked cakes food whenever they believe is convenient creating a challenge to food retailers of a dynamic resource allocation in maintaining their inventories at appropriate stock levels and avoiding food waste, losses, and stock-outs (Arunraj and Ahrens, 2015). A strategic hierarchy for reducing baked cakes’ losses and waste are in order of source reduction, reusing and reprocessing, recycle as feed for other animals, recover the energy, compost for nutrients, raw materials for other processes, recover the energy by incineration and dumping the garbage in landfills (Vågsholm, Arzoomand and Boqvist, 2020)

Cheesecakes and pies are the higher contributors to the impacts at the sectoral level due to the environmental burdens and can be improved by targeting the raw materials and energy. The raw materials and energy stage are the main hotspots which should be targeted for improvement opportunities to reduce the impacts in the baked cakes supply chains. The production, distribution and consumption of baked cakes are linked to the life cycle environmental impacts which results that the type of cheesecake is the worst option.

Baked cakes increase food waste in situations when are beyond the best-before dates to be discarded by retailers and consumers who often left over and discard from catering establishments and households. The shelf life of baked cakes labeled as best before dates is a quality management control to guarantee that consumption before the date provided that the storage instructions is safe and healthy but poisonous thereafter dates. Also, recalls of foods from producers and retailers that might be a risk for the population as for example, nuts, soy, wheat, eggs, etc., containing allergens, borne pathogens, foreign plastic and metal materials, etc. (Maberry, 2019).

Allergens introduce into the products and processes from the unlikeliest of sources. Proactive programming must facilitate the detection and monitoring of pathogens and allergens posing risks to their products and customers before they enter the process of food products as the responsibility. If the manufacturing facilities switching back and forth between production of different products that contain specific allergens and allergen free. For example, switching production of snack cakes between cakes with almonds and cakes free of tree nuts. We see more and more product recalls due to allergens or traces of allergens in baked goods due to the production of foods with allergens in the same factories or kitchens. There are stricter policies in place regarding the cleanliness of equipment and food labeling as well. It is expressed that food labels should be simple and clear about their contents to protect the consumer that may be allergic to one or more components of the product (Dun & Bradstreet, 2022).

Pathogens can enter along the way on the food manufacturing process, from the field to the product at the final consumer. Environmental testing used to detect specific pathogens identifies food pathogens introduced into a food-handling environment not eliminated by sanitation practices that could be passed on to the food ingredients being processed.

The factors of demand for baked cakes are volatile and correlated with product characteristics, consumer behavior, nutritional ingredients, healthy food with low calories, customer visit for shopping, price, promotions, discounts, events or festivals, weather, season, food safety, quality, etc. Nutrition science offers insights that benefits the perspective of food as socio cultural construction (Paxson, Klein, Watson, 2016).

Improvements on post-consumption of food waste of baked cakes lead to impact reductions on sugar as raw material, energy, agricultural land occupation, terrestrial ecotoxicity and photochemical oxidants, which increase the savings. Implementing food baked cake waste and losses prevention strategies aimed to achieve long term food safety and sustainability such as changing criteria for fresh produce, is a solution that requires a trade-off based on economic, social, and environmental justifications (Mourad 2016).

Reduction of post-consumer baked cake waste is linked to reduction of freshwater and marine ecotoxicity. Post-consumer baked cake waste is underestimated (DEFRA, 2015) despite that any potential reduction would translate into potential improvements of the environment, freshwater ecotoxicity and savings. The sugar content of baked cakes has been identified as a relevant policy making concern aligned with policy developments Environmental and health impacts related to decrease the content of sugar in baked cakes must be mitigated by product reformulation knowing that constitutes a substantial part of the wight (Hashem et al., 2018).

The environmental impacts of baked cakes at the sectoral level are estimated based on the consumption data of the estimated market value shares and the market prices on product impacts (Konstantas et al., 2019; Keynote, 2015a, b). It has been underestimated the total energy consumption in the baking industry supply chains, due to the lack of data, despite the possibility to determine the contribution of baked cakes through emissions on a life cycle basis from food and drugs sector (Druckman and Jackson 2009).

Implementing intelligent packaging for baked cakes supported by artificial intelligence adds the benefits of better diet control for nutrients and reduction of wasted or lost food. Intelligent packaging using sensors to monitor the characteristics of bakery products through the supply chain improves food safety and biosecurity while reduces food losses and waste (Newsome et al., 2014; Poyatos-Racinero et al., 2018). The use of block-chains trace-back outbreaks verifying the origin and fate of the bakery products, facilitates to speed up and trust of procedures and allows the consumers to check the bakery products in real time on the spot (Ahmed and Broek, 2017).

Besides other family sensors, the most relevant are for identification tags, baking food package integrity, freshness and temperature (Poyatos-Racinero et al., 2018). Intelligent tags trace and track a baked product in real time information to identifying on the food supply chain, analyzing the causes of food losses and waste, controlling inputs in the production process and food frauds (Manning and Soon, 2016). Temperature sensors detect abuses along the supply chain using dynamic dating of baked cakes for shelf life. The indicators of the sensor turn red if the quality of baked cake declines and is not suitable for human consumption. Packaging changes in the baked cake industry are difficult to implement due to the need to maintain environmental sustainability, food safety and biosecurity and shelf life, despite those reductions in packaging result in savings.

Intensification of circular food economy systems including baked cakes production is part of the solutions to future food biosecurity, considering resistance to potential public health risks from the possibilities of trade-offs between environmental sustainability, food safety and food biosecurity to intensify food production aided by antimicrobials. Circular food systems applied to baking industry meaning that most of recycled nutrients are efficient in biosecurity, environmental sustainability and resource footprints, although the cycle of nutrients have the risk to become a cycle of pathogens and chemical hazards (Monsees et al., 2017).

In Canada, the implementation of biosecurity measures on farms is not well accepted nor believed to be important by the farmers which poses a risk to the overall health of the country. They do not see the risks of diseases among their animals and thus think of preventative measures as not useful. Only about half of farmers in Denis-Robichaud et al.’s study found that biosecurity measures were necessary and advantageous to their farms (2019). This increases the risk of pathogens being introduced on the farm, causing contaminated products which could be baked into a cake or used to make any sort of food. Farmers have expressed that with low income, they are unable to afford the infrastructure needed to keep up daily biosecurity practices. There needs to be a change to ensure sustainability of Canadian farms as well as ensure the health and safety of Canadian citizens (Denis-Robichaud et al., 2019).

Moldy and spoiled grains already lost should not enter the food, feed chains and green energy and instead should be incinerated to recover the energy (SOU, 2007) to cut carbon footprints. The food bio-waste residues can be used in composting for organic fertilizers, recovering nutrients and energy leading to lowering the resource footprint of production (Albihn and Vinnerås, 2007),

Circular baking production systems implies more efficiency on environmental and resource footprints; recycling of nutrients, by-products and food losses and waste; improves transparency of supply chains and the balance food supply and demand; and reduces transportation and storage. There are some risks when implementing a circular and recycling system of baking production. The design of circular food production systems must avoid cycles of biological and chemical hazards, persistence of pathogens in the feed and food chains.

However, developing circular food production systems to recycle nutrients is a challenge for trade-offs between food safety, food biosecurity and sustainability. Baking industry’s food production systems must be supported by better biosecurity and inputs from healthy animals and welfare. biosecurity and safety food risks are traced back as landfills where food ingredients are cultivated (Oivanen et al., 2000).

Applications of forecasting of baking industry supply and demand, monitoring the supply chain based on big data strategies and artificial intelligence through the sensors to include safety considerations, lead to more efficient control of processes, reduce the food losses and waste, and reassures trust between the baking industry and final consumers, but ignoring food safety concerns is a recipe for disaster. The analytical metadata collected with big data instruments and sensors provide a holistic perspective of processes of the various bakery products across diverse transportation and storage operations and conditions of temperature and packaging leading to better predicting baked cake supply (Vågsholm, Arzoomand and Boqvist, 2020)


Assumptions about the relationship between food policies and sustainable development in North American baking industry led to conclude that is weak, if not lacking, to be able to address all the interconnected and interrelated social, environmental, and economic issues and concerns. In fact, the research findings are directed towards explaining this lack of engagement between policy making and implementation in the baking industry across America to be able to deliver more sustainable food and contributing to better nutrition, health, and lifestyle of consumers.

Multidisciplinary approaches based on complementary and competing visions should give the baking industry better tools for ensuring quality and safety (Ropodi et al., 2016; Nychas et al., 2016). The use of IT technology offers an efficient source reduction, reprocessing, and recycling of food. Big data analyses and artificial intelligence instruments provides continuous benefits for the baking industry in achieving the better sustainability by ensuring food quality, safety, and biosecurity while reducing food waste and losses.

Previous research findings on sustainable baking and food industry do not have a simple, and direct impact on policy making leading to discussions without an agreement on the relationship between policy making and the development of a sustainable baking industry. The lack of consensus on discussions about the implications and impact of food in the baking industry on sustainable development led to conclude that the researchers should get more involved to work with manufacturers and commercial partners of baking goods to focus on the needs and interests of consumers and producers while focusing on the sustainability concerns.

Source reduction and reprocessing of baking production is an option to sustainable intensification by eliminating food waste or loss and increasing the output with the same footprint, which requires the baking industry and consumers to adapt their quality requirements and specifications (Johnson et al., 2018). The recommendation is to double the production and consumption of a diet rich in plant-based fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts and to halve or reduce the consumption of sugar mixed in the baked cakes confers both human health and environmental benefits. If the global baking industry system change in this direction, the food security improves and becomes more resilient.

The trade-offs between food safety and security, economic, social, and environmental sustainability are vital and should be based on evidence and risk. Monitoring the production environment of the baking and milling industry for bacteria and pathogens in a proactive approach can guarantee a safe product.

An evaluation of social and environmentally sustainable policies and their related practices applied to the baking industry across America, may influence policy making and activism towards the design and implementation of more sustainable practices of natural resources, water, and energy in relation to the food safety and development, although this may entail some ethical dilemmas to deliver better nutrition, health, and lifestyle to the consumers.



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