Companion Baking Founder Josh Allen Named “Sustainability Hero” at the 2021 Tiptree World Bread Awards

Josh Allen, founder and owner of St. Louis-based Companion Baking, has been named the 2021 “Sustainability Hero” at the Tiptree World Bread Awards, America’s leading awards celebrating the bread community. Allen was also named a Midwest runner-up in the Bread Heroes competition. 

Supported by the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE), the World Bread Awards were founded in 2017 by Caroline Kenyon. For the first time this year, the awards not only celebrated 13 regional Bread Heroes, but also an additional selection of special awards. These included the Brook Food Dream Team Award, KitchenAid Home Baker Hero, Shipton Mill Real Bread Hero, Tiptree Outstanding Achievement Award, Wright’s Flour Award for Innovation, and Zeelandia Award for Sustainability. 

Josh Allen received the Sustainability Hero award for his efforts to reduce annual trash produced by Companion by over one million pounds, through a series of micro-innovations. By measuring and managing their trash, they have changed the thoughts and actions of their bakers. Today, waste reduction plays a role in each and every decision at Companion, including sales, the production process, automation, and packaging. More information on the Sustainability Hero award and the specific actions Companion has taken to reduce waste can be found here.

More information on the judging panel can be found here

The full list of winners can be found here

Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, Allen was immersed in the food and baking industry from an early age. His great-grandfather founded Allen Foods, a well-known broadline food distributor with a large customer base across the Midwest. Allen spent much of his childhood delivering groceries to various foodservice operations, cleaning the freezers, and sweeping the trucks for his family’s business. In 1991, Allen earned his degree in American Studies from Stanford University and remained in the Bay Area working for various artisan bakers and grocery stores including Whole Foods Market and the Oakville Grocery Co., where he gained valuable baking experience and learned what it took to operate a business. 

Allen returned home to St. Louis in 1993 and leased a small corner of a manufacturing facility operated by his family to create Companion Baking. He started with just six breads in Companion’s production line but gradually expanded the business, partnering with local and regional restaurants and grocery chains to build the customized bread programs for which Companion has become known. Today, Companion’s award-winning bread is served in more than 400 restaurants, grocery stores, and businesses around the Midwest and across the country.