We are a sourdough and viennoiserie bakery in Athens, Greece. We use long fermentation methods, which make our products more nutritious and digestible than conventionally produced breads. We search for the finest ingredients on the market, championing dedicated growers and producers across the country.
We are a values-driven business that gives back to the community by donating to charities through our sales, running a neutral carbon production facility and practicing low-waste initiatives.
Kora Bakery was founded by Maria Alafouzou and Ianthi Michalaki. Maria is a writer and editor who later ventured into the bakery industry and Ianthi is an acclaimed pastry chef and baker who has worked in some of the world’s finest restaurants.
‘Doing the right thing’ encompasses the way we approach work – what we make, how we make it and how we give back. We are an imperfect business operating in an imperfect world. So we work within that framework – asking ourselves what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. Below you’ll find some points on how we operate as sustainably as possible.
Production & Food Waste
Our production produces very little waste and wherever there is waste we work hard to find ways of reducing or eliminating it. Our aim is to reduce waste to the lowest possible levels and find ways of recycling waste within the bakery or with third parties. Food waste is combated by:
– Managing stock so that ingredients don’t go to waste before they enter production
– Using as little single-use wrapping as possible in production and seeking alternatives whenever possible
– Carefully assessing sales on a daily basis to inform production so that excess product isn’t made
– Creating products that use off-cuts or minimize waste from production
– Donating unsold items – any unsold items are donated to the Municipality of Athens to feed those in need
– Improving production methods and systems to reduce errors that lead to waste
We research our packaging options and aim for the best possible practices on the market. We take into account the negative effects of single-use waste along with the carbon footprint that paper, glass or plastic create. We live in a world with flawed solutions and don’t want to delude ourselves or customers by greenwashing the reality of packaging. Recycling rates are incredibly low in Greece and even if one does recycle the rate of contamination is extremely high. Paper is biodegradable but has a large carbon footprint. Packaging is necessary to transport food in and has negative externalities for which the market hasn’t found solutions. So we do our best.
– Wherever possible we choose paper over plastic as our packaging is single-use and we deem the lower carbon footprint of plastic doesn’t justify the cost of ocean plastic pollution.
– Our coffee cups are made from paper but like all paper coffee cups, they’re lined with plastic. It is however, the lowest amount of plastic (under 4%) that the industry currently provides and is the European leading standard. We’re waiting eagerly for someone to come up with a usable non-plastic lining for coffee cups!
– We choose truly biodegradable packaging where we can, like in our breakfast pots. These are made from sugarcane and can be composted.
– We use plastic cups for beverages instead of PLA (Polylactic Acid) aka ‘corn plastic’ as PLA can only be composted in an industrial facility of which there are none in Greece. We determine that PET plastic that can be recycled is the better option over PLA that has no current end-of-life use.
– It is our longer term goal to replace our PET plastic cups with glass when we are able to do so as a business. We will do this along with glass-return incentives as the carbon footprint is high.
– We help our customers recycle in shop by providing recycling bins and a water source to prepare their items by cleaning them
All of our equipment runs on electric energy which comes from renewable resources. We are conscious of the amount of energy we use and choose whenever possible the most efficient machines and working methods.
As we expand we will prioritize function and form to have low-energy buildings and reduce the amount of heating or cooling required.
We donate portions of our sales to charitable organizations. Since February 2021 we’ve partnered with Mdm Greece – Doctors of the World – Greece and supported their work through monthly donations of our brownie sales. We have since raised tens of thousands of euros for MdM to support people in need of medical, legal and social support. We frequently donate funds when the need arises for disaster-relief.