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Strategic partnership with British bakery chain

Case study // Meeting green goals with Greggs

With more than 1,700 shops and 20,000 employees, Greggs is a firm favourite on many high streets, retail parks and shopping centres across the UK. Every week, millions of customers enjoy Greggs' offering, which includes everything from their traditional sausage rolls to Balanced Choice sandwiches and salads, sweet treats and freshly-ground coffee.

With a 'daily-fresh’ approach to sandwich making and savoury baking, managing waste is a priority for Greggs.

It’s vital that the 21,000 waste collections Greggs requires every month run smoothly. And, being a responsible business, it’s just as important that Greggs minimises its impact on the environment. Half-baked solutions simply don’t cut it.

Biffa has been Greggs national partner since 2009, providing a broad spectrum of waste services to Greggs shops, head office and supply chain, which comprises nine regional bakeries, a distribution centre and two centres of excellence.

The geographical scope of Greggs’ business - particularly on the retail side - creates complex operational challenges, and requires innovative solutions.

“A large part of our retail estate is made up of small shops in difficult-to-access locations, which can create a lot of issues,” said Ally Stephenson, Purchasing Manager, Greggs, who awarded Biffa an extension to its contract last year.

“We have limited storage space both inside and outside our shops so a missed collection can cause immediate issues. It needs fine management to keep those services running smoothly.”

Operational excellence is something Biffa’s Account Director for Greggs, Cath Leslie, has been working hard on. Successful collections now number more than 99% and, if an issue does occur, Cath rapidly resolves it.

But Gregg’s requirements go beyond the smooth running of its day-to-day collections. As a responsible business with a clear focus on the environment, it sets itself important green goals, including 100% of waste in the supply chain being diverted from landfill.

Cath and the Biffa team have helped Greggs come up with innovative solutions to meet and exceed those targets, including better segregation of waste across the business, and the addition of anaerobic digestion (AD) to the mix. AD offers a clever solution to the issue of food waste, by converting it into heat, power and fertiliser.

With Biffa’s support, Greggs has already exceeded its supply chain target and is continuing to improve its results on the retail side.

Ally credits much of the account’s success to Cath’s dedication, rapid-issue response and open and honest communication. A flourishing spirit of partnership has helped the relationship move beyond the operational into a more consultative space, where Cath regularly advises Greggs on ways to reduce its environmental impact and cut costs.

“We now use Biffa as an example of how you can get a supplier relationship into a place where it’s about innovation, making things better, working together to make savings as a business, and having open, honest conversations on both sides,” said Ally. “We now work collaboratively on initiatives to save money, or improve a process, rather than on day-to-day operational issues.

“That doesn’t mean that operational issues don’t occur, as the Greggs account is large and complex. But it’s how Cath and Biffa deal with these, so that they get resolved quickly, that allows us to spend our time working on new initiatives.

“The trust and openness that has developed means that it feels more like a long-term partnership than a typical client/supplier relationship, which is a great place to be in.”

Cath added: “We’ve built a strong relationship with Greggs. Through working closely together, we’ve been able to introduce savings, efficiencies and innovative ideas across its business and have taken them to the environmental targets they were looking to achieve.”


Martin Nobes - Head of New Business

Martin Nobes

New Business Enquiries - if you're interested in how Biffa can help support you with strategic sustainable solutions contact Martin by emailing

A 'daily-fresh' approach to products.

21,000 waste collections every month.

UK map 0 1700

Greggs locations


Rolling service success


Biffa’s rate of completed daily collections

Did you know Greggs has...

  • Doubled the amount of unsold food that it donates to community groups and charities for the last 2 years running
  • Cut the carbon intensity of the business by 25% between 2010 and 2015 and currently holds the Carbon Trust Standard
  •  Has photovoltaic solar panels on the roofs of 10 of its bakeries
  • Sends none of the waste produced by its manufacturing sites to landfill