De Trog organic bakery has been prioritising sustainability for several years

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Hendrik Durnez’s Ypres-based organic bakery is the epitome of pure craftsmanship, with skilled master bakers producing delicious organic bread day in day out, from the oven to your table. At De Trog, the purity of the ingredients and the pure, traditional craft of baking bread, as well as an emphasis on sustainability and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are ingrained in everything this organic bakery does. A success story to which new chapters are added every day.

De Trog in all its glory

Since its establishment in 1970, De Trog organic bakery has stuck to its four core principles: organic raw materials, time, home-made natural sourdough starter and artisanal methods. Guiding principles that continue to inspire the company every day. Principles that its team of motivated employees can also put their heart and soul into. ‘The Earth is bountiful’, says Hendrik resolutely. That is why the bakery wants nothing more than to build on this bounty of pure and nutritious ingredients that nature provides. The home-made natural sourdough starter, whose aroma has only gained in flavour over the past 40 years, is the ultimate proof of this. We carefully select our raw materials, using them in an artisanal production process, preferring ingredients in their purest form. Allowing sufficient time for the natural fermentation and proofing process is an integral part of this. But our bakers’ handicraft also plays an important role in helping us to produce the most original and tasteful creations. Organic breads, produced in accordance with the methods of traditional craftsmanship by people who are passionate about their craft and uphold the principles of sustainability and the SDGs? There is no better way to describe organic bakery De Trog. Does our philosophy appeal to you? Find out how we contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals in this article.

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Working towards improved nutrition and eradicating poverty (SDGs 1 and 2)

The quest for accessible and nutritious bread creations is a never-ending journey. De Trog is convinced that bread is an essential part of a balanced and varied diet, which is why the bakery have steadfastly done without improvers, flavourings and preservatives in its breads for years. De Trog cares about nutrition, which is why it is happy to contribute to taking food to the next level. What’s more, its motivated team of bakers continues to contribute ideas, respond to the growing demand from society, and play a pioneering role when it comes to trends.

A few years ago, De Trog realised that vegans were also scouring the shelves for a tasty loaf. Since then, its vegan breads, which also bear the European V seal of quality for vegans, can be found far and wide. High-protein, low-carbohydrate, high-fibre breads, which are ideally suited to specific diets and low-carb bread, which is perfect for an evening meal, are also proving very popular. The company thus caters to everyone’s needs through its wide range of organic breads. De Trog also helps people who find it more difficult to make ends meet. The bakery is involved in numerous projects and every week loaves are sent to the food bank, ensuring that bread for everyone really means bread for everyone.

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Combating climate change and excelling in energy efficiency (SDGs 6, 7 and 13)

The people at De Trog are very much aware that climate change is an issue. As a matter of fact, the organic bakery resolutely strives to achieve a carbon-neutral business environment, and has succeeded so far in neutralising its CO2 emissions of 1,372 tons. An amazing achievement, thanks to which De Trog became the first Belgian bakery ever to be conferred a CO2 neutral label.

A large part of this remarkable result is entirely due to the green energy that plays a key role in the bakery’s production process. De Trog invested in technology such as solar panels and the residual heat from its ovens is recovered through innovative techniques. The founders of De Trog will do everything possible to avoid exhausting natural resources. As such, rainwater is recovered for use in the company’s sanitary facilities and De Trog hopes to take further steps in the future to step up its efforts. 'Thanks to a larger collection surface and a water purification installation, we will be able to seamlessly use rainwater in our production process', says the bakery.

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De Trog and nature, working hand in glove (SDG 15)

De Trog’s no. 1 priority is biodiversity. Mother Nature should be given free rein, something which the company is keen to encourage every day. Thanks to De Trog's preference for organic cultivation, the bakery has completely eliminated the use of all chemical fertilisers and sprays, avoiding soil depletion altogether. Our future and that of the future generations is in our hands, which is why we must save and protect our planet. Moreover, De Trog takes a responsible approach to nature conservation, in addition to enthusiastically contributing to it. In the framework of the 2021 ‘Warmste Week’, the bakery’s employees planted a new ‘De Trog’ forest. De Trog also cooperates respectfully with Belgian research institutes, farmers, millers and buyers. Local economy and pure craftsmanship are the bakery’s cornerstones for long-term relationships.

Putting people first every day (SDGs 4, 5, 8 and 10)

De Trog goes that extra mile for its many customers and bread lovers, but it also values its workforce. More than 120 motivated employees have been making the commute to Ypres for many years now, where a great workplace awaits and where they can do a job that suits them to a tee. Thanks to an individualised training plan, De Trog offers them opportunities and immerses them fully in the company's philosophy. This way, everyone is keen to achieve the same goal while the company is able to seamlessly respond to its employees’ personal needs and requirements at the same time.

De Trog also recognises the unique added value of each employee and embraces diversity. Every day efforts are made to join forces and achieve smooth collaboration between co-workers. Thanks to extensive language training, trilingual corporate communication, and visual forms of communication, everyone is in their element at De Trog. Prioritising inclusion!

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Sustainable production and continuous innovation (SDGs 9 and 12)

De Trog takes a critical look at its own production. The team is constantly optimising its processes and reducing wastage. By taking a careful look at packaging materials and converting surplus bread into new products, the bakery has significantly reduced the amount of waste it produces. Have you tasted De Trog’s organic beer, the ‘Troggeling’, or its delicious ‘croustini’ yet? Both are extremely creative food waste products that have already won prizes at the Food Waste Awards. Grain surpluses are provided to Natuurpunt for birds in the fields, Part of the residual flows is also transformed into animal fodder in collaboration with TROTEC, with waste thus being upgraded to feed. Bread surpluses are donated to food banks. What about the remaining waste? De Trog sorts its waste thoroughly before disposing of it.

Can a traditional bakery embrace innovation and digitisation? Of course it can, as they have discovered first-hand at De Trog. A growing bakery requires good infrastructure and the necessary technological progress. The work is adapted to the employees, rather than the other way around, Ergonomics are a priority at De Trog, allowing De Trog’s employees to work longer while remaining healthier, without physical complaints. New techniques or possibilities to scale up the production of artisanal bread while staying true to the principles of the baker's craft? De Trog is always happy to try them out. Smart robotics as well as advanced data analyses and innovative smartglasses are all part of the process today. The Factory Of The Future Award that the entire team took home in 2016 is also proof that the Ypres-based organic bakery did not miss the digital train.

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