I’m a stickler for a good slice of whole wheat toast. For a couple years now, Dave’s Killer Bread has been my go-to, ever since I was drawn to their unique cover design. The company was founded by Dave Dahl, an ex-convict who worked at his family’s small bakery and developed the recipes for the breads, which are all organic and contain non-GMO ingredients. It’s currently the largest organic bread company in North America. Their organic plant-powered recipes mean their bread is filled with nutrients that make it a better option than a lot of other store-bought breads, but where their sustainability factor falters is the lack of transparency behind the sourcing of their ingredients and their limited insight into their production process.
Their bread is USDA Organic and Non-GMO, and are also free of artificial ingredients. I looked more into the USDA Organic label to see if it truly was something to be impressed by, and what the requirements were to certify something as USDA Organic. According to the Rodale Institute, I learned that organic systems, “are more resilient, sequester more carbon, yield fewer emissions, require less energy, and can produce yields equal to conventional—if not higher.” Organic agriculture like that of the ingredients used in Dave’s Killer Bread operates in a system that prioritizes the health and regenerative nature of the soil, environment, and those eating the products. The organic label also assures that the ingredients are free of synthetic pesticides and other chemicals. I wanted to know how these adjustments separate Dave’s from non-organic breads often found in grocery stores. According to Eat This, Not That, the high fiber and protein quantity (5g) found in one slice of Dave's 21 Whole Grains and Seeds loaf, regardless of the extra sugar (5g) compared to some other supermarket brands, makes it a more nutritious option. Dave's Killer Bread is also free of many preservatives that are commonly found in store-bought bread. Something that I noticed a lot as I was doing research on common store-bought breads was the notion that just because a loaf of bread is darker doesn't mean it's “healthy whole grain.” However, a huge part of Dave's recipe is whole grains, which are full of nutrients.
Dave’s Killer Bread is based in Milwaukie, Oregon. I searched really hard to try and find more information about the production process but I couldn’t find anything about where they source their materials, what their production process is, or how it’s packaged. This was really frustrating, because it seems like they care a lot about their environmental impact but in no way do they explain their processes and how it contributes to their carbon footprint. I do appreciate how it seems that all of their bread is manufactured in the same location, as it reduces a lot of the transportation costs, however I’d like to know where they source the ingredients that go into their bread. That’s why although they gave some limited insight into their operation, I’m giving them .5 Earths out of 3.
Dave’s Killer Bread was founded by Dave and Glenn Dahl after a Dave spent 15 years in prison and then returned to his family bakery. That’s where he began experimenting and came up with Blues Bread, the kickstarter for his brand. He was also inspired by his own life story to make Dave's Killer Bread a second chance employer, meaning they hire regardless of criminal history. About one in three of the employees in the company have a criminal record. I couldn’t find any more information about the treatment, pay, or conditions that the employees are in, or who sources their raw ingredients, which was really disappointing, however I did more research and stumbled upon a video made by Sustainable Today that took an inside look on the manufacturing operation and talked to some of the employees. Although this is a promotional video, I was impressed with what seemed to be the small nature of the company and how much it seems that they care for their employees.