The major retailers have come under fire for their “misleading” labels and use of processing aids and artificial additives in in-store baked bread.
A nine-month investigation conducted by the Real Bread Campaign, which is part of the UK charity Sustain, concluded that only one of the major retailers was producing “real bread” according to its definition. “Real bread is made with only flour, water, yeast and salt. Any other ingredients must be natural. The production of real bread does not involve the use of processing aids or any other artificial additives,” according to campaigners.
The study found that only Marks & Spencer’s in-store bakery loaves met with the Real Bread Campaign’s definition of real bread.
The report, Are supermarket bloomers pants? A Real Bread Campaign investigation of UK supermarket in-store bakeries, criticised current labelling laws because consumers do not have to be informed which additives had been used in the production of in-store bakery loaves unless they ask. It also argued that many consumers did not realise that some of the processing aids used in baking bread are derived from genetically modified sources.
The report also highlighted that many supermarket in-store bakeries do not bake every loaf fresh from scratch on-site but use bake-off dough or part-baked loaves, which are produced elsewhere. The report, therefore, also criticised current labelling regulations, as they allow retailers to label baked-off bread as “freshly baked bread”, which campaigners claim is “misleading” consumers.