There are many issues being faced by the food industry today and, as major stakeholders, it will do us well to be aware and take action.
The United Nations has projected that the world will have around 11.2 billion people by the year 2100. Currently, we have around 7.6 billion people. Of this, 10.7% are suffering from chronic undernourishment or, to put it simply, hunger. With the UN’s latest projections, clearly, we need to secure our food supply.
Sustainability should not just be a marketing buzzword. It should be a deliberate, mindful action of working with nature rather than exploiting it because, well, it is our only source of food. Simply put, sustainability leads to security.
The use of sustainable ingredients not only increases food production but also improves the nutritional quality of products over-all. So in the end, everyone benefits: the suppliers, manufacturers, us consumers, and of course Mother Earth.
Take the case of eggs - an American staple. There are so many options in the supermarket shelves that one would tend to just go for the cheapest dozen. But if you have sustainability in mind, you will pay close attention to where these eggs came from.
Cage-free eggs are from hens that are allowed to engage in their normal habits such as dust-bathing, foraging, nesting, perching, walking (which strengthens their bones), and stretching their wings, unlike those hens who live in battery cages. These hens are healthier too as studies show that battery hens have a 25-times higher chance of contacting Salmonella than their cage-free counterparts.
In the end, this issue is more about animal health and welfare. But happier, healthier hens lead to healthier eggs so we benefit too.
Another thing that you should look for in the products that you buy is the Non-GMO Project Verified seal which is North America’s most trusted seal for GMO avoidance.
Some players in the agribusiness have resulted to genetic modification to maximize profits but this spells danger for us consumers and it is but our right to know what’s in our food and that we are eating only natural food.
Again, keeping sustainability in mind, if we all make an effort to buy only Non-GMO Project Verified products we can put a stop to this unnatural way by which our food is grown and made.
This way, we protect the environment, we protect the farmers, and we protect ourselves too. A win-win situation all the way.
Think about these things the next time you do your grocery. You can make a difference. You have more power than you think.
You’re asking how? Your dollar speaks. Make the smart choice by purchasing products of companies that are committed to sustainability as well. Usually, these are the family-owned businesses whose recipes have been handed down from generation to generation and use only the freshest natural ingredients available. By supporting businesses like these, you also support the communities where they belong.
Jenny Lee Swirl Bread is rich in history and experience and this is one of the reasons why many customers love the brand.
In 1875, Michael A. Becker immigrated to the United States from Germany. He changed his name to “Baker” to be more American. “You are your name” has never been truer in the case of the Bakers as Michael eventually became a baker as his lifelong trade with Michael A. Baker as the first company name.
In 1938, Paul Baker and Bernard McDonald (both grandsons of Michael) founded Jenny Lee Bakery. The name was derived from a popular song in the 1930s with the title “Sweet Jenny Lee.” The company peaked in the 1970s with 14 locations before settling into a 25,000-square-foot facility in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania.
But in 2006, the facility caught fire (on Thanksgiving Day, of all days) and the company was not able to cope especially with the economic crisis that ensued afterwards that it had to shut down in 2008.
It reopened in 2009 and today, Jenny Lee Breads are being sold at nearly 5,000 retail locations in 20 Northeast states and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Its roots remain in McKees Rocks though and remains an icon in this part of Pennsylvania.
The company is very strong in values especially integrity which reflects in their choice of ingredients as well as the quality of their products. The company actually won the Food Quality & Safety Award in 2017. The company uses only sustainable ingredients, cage-free eggs, and all of their swirl breads are verified Non-GMO by the Non-GMO Project. (If you are vegan, you can go for their Italian Olive Focaccia Savory Bread.)
The company is all about resilience and corporate social responsibility. That and their commitment in giving back to the community makes them definitely worth endorsing.
The company uses only whole, high-quality ingredients to maximize flavor, color, and consistency. No flavorings, extracts, or essential oils are used in any of their products.
You know what they say, it really pays to “start them young.” This is the case of Scott Baker who practically grew up in the family business. At 7, he would sticker bags and make bows. At 13, he mopped floors and cleaned pans. By 16, he became a part-time employee.
Scott graduated from the American Institute of Baking in 1992 and from the University of Pittsburgh in 1994, the same year when his father Bernie became the sole proprietor of Jenny Lee Bakery, having bought out the shares of his two brothers: Jim and Rich. Scott joined the company as retail sales manager after his graduation from the university.
Their facility might have caught fire but Scott’s burning desire to continue the family baking tradition was stronger such that even when the company shut down in 2008, he resurrected the company a year later under the name 5 Generation Bakers. (Although in reality, the family baking tradition has run for more than 5 generations. Their recipes are actually 143 years old as of this writing.)
With focused product development, new packaging, and digital marketing, the company has grown exponentially since then.
Scott says his biggest inspiration is his dad Bernie who is more than 70 years old but still comes to work 5 days a week as Director of Bakery Operations. His dad taught him to do things the right way the first time. He shares, “If you want to be successful, take the time and effort to do it right the first time.”
“ Very good bread! I love the history of this company and the comeback story. It's great to see a small family business thrive. Can't wait til my next delivery. ” – Gary Craft
“ The bread is great! Very impressed with both Scott and Cody - their commitment to customer service. ” – Peggy Hughes Striegel
“ I have never had such incredible customer service in my life! I sent a message about an order I received from Jenny Lee Swirl Bread and almost immediately received a response from Cody. I had also sent an email on the Jenny Lee Swirl Bread website to Scott (CEO) and got a very quick response. I wasn't expecting to be treated so unbelievably kindly and considerately regarding my order issue, and to have it resolved so quickly. I know the reviews for their products are awesome but their customer service is truly second to none! Thank you Cody and Scott! Much, much appreciated. ” – Lisa Rothenberger Ridgeway
“ Love this bread and any other baked goods that the Baker family makes‼ Great people. ” – Joanne M Lindner
“ Excellent baked goods! In addition to the delicious baked goods, the owner and his family are always very generous with their time and donations to community events. ” – Donna Belas