Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
Cyber Monday SALE: Up to 54% OFF InvestingPro+ CLAIM OFFER

Bread sales can't cover energy bill at family-run Dutch bakery

Economic Indicators Sep 22, 2022 04:12PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
5/5 © Reuters. An employee prepares bread at a bakery in Hoevelaken, Netherlands September 21, 2022. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw 2/5

By Charlotte Van Campenhout

HOEVELAKEN, Netherlands (Reuters) - For five generations, Dutchman Dennis Toebast's family has prospered as bread bakers. But since the war in Ukraine his energy bills have jumped fivefold, casting doubt on plans to eventually hand the business down to his daughter.

With as many as a million Dutch households at risk of being pushed below the poverty line due to soaring gas and electricity bills, the government of the Netherlands on Tuesday announced 18 billion euros ($17.8 billion) worth of measures in 2023 to shield people from a cost of living crisis.

For many family-run businesses like Toebast's, plans to also provide financial support to businesses could come too late, and if nothing changes he might be forced to consider the painful option of cutting staff when the new year starts.

“Our monthly income has vanished," he said. "We are working to pay the energy bills.”

Toebast's monthly gas and electricity costs jumped from around 3,500 euros ($3,455) last year to more than 18,600 euros ($18,365).

He said he'd need to charge as much as five euros ($4.90) for a normal loaf of bread in order to cover his costs, but "no one will pay that".

Efforts to reduce energy use, including no longer selling hot snacks after 4 pm and using leftover heat in ovens after baking bread to bake cakes, have not made enough of a dent in his expenses, he said.

On a regular day, the bakery in the central Dutch town of Hoevelaken where he has worked for 30 years sells roughly 600 loaves, but some customers stopped coming after a price increase of 0.60 cents to 2.40 euros per loaf.

Dutch inflation hit 12% in August, according to Statistics Netherlands, driven largely by a 151% year-on-year leap in gas and electricity prices.

Toebast doesn't expect the bills to lower or even stabilize any time soon. Instead, the bakery tries to work as efficiently as possible. But raw material prices have also jumped since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The Dutch government has been too slow to react, said Marie-Helene Zengerink, general manager of the Dutch Association for Bread and Pastry Bakers, pointing out that neighbouring Belgium and Germany already provided lifelines to businesses.

Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Micky Adriaansens said on Tuesday evening that a support package for businesses will be ready in November. "This is hopeful, but something needs to happen now as well", said Zengerink.

She said at least seven bakeries have gone bankrupt in recent weeks and that, without urgent help, thousands more are at risk of collapsing.

Toebast has promised his 24 employees they would have jobs until at least the end of this year. He hopes that some day his daughter, Fabienne, will take over the bakery, but that too is no longer certain.

"I can't keep this up for longer than six more months," he said. "Some of my employees have offered to be let go if that would help. That's absolutely the last thing we want to do."

($1 = 1.0128 euros)

Bread sales can't cover energy bill at family-run Dutch bakery

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
Casador Del Oso
Casador Del Oso Sep 22, 2022 4:26PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
I wish we could get a fresh baked loaf of bread here in the US for only $2.40. It's more like $8-$10 now.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email