Chris Young, co-ordinator for the Real Bread Campaign (RBC), which launched the mark, told FoodManufacture.co.uk that more bakeries are expected to sign up soon.
“The Real Bread Campaign is fighting for better bread in Britain,” he said. “The way industrial loaves are currently produced could be improved to be better for the consumer, community and planet.”
The use of artisan baking techniques increased employment and lowered carbon emissions, he added.
Total production at the 50 bakeries is unclear because some are too small to record statistics.
More than two-thirds (70%) of consumers said that it was unacceptable for processing aids to be used in baking without a label declaration, according to a survey conducted on behalf of the RBC by market research group Toluna.
Consumers also complained that no ingredient list has to be displayed for unwrapped loaves.
Honest Crust Act
The campaign called for the creation of an Honest Crust Act that would require bakers to declare all ingredients for both wrapped and unwrapped bread.
“It is hard to say how many unwrapped loaves are made with additives such as processing aids,” said Young. “When we asked the six main retailers, only one replied that a handful of their bread lines were made without using additives.”
The other large retailers either declined to comment or gave a general statement confirming that additives could be found in some loaves.
No information about additives was available from most independent high-street bakers, said Young.
But the Federation of Bakers – which represents larger bakeries making wrapped sliced loaves – argued that processing aids should not be included on labels. That was because they do not end up in the final product, the federation’s director Gordon Polson told FoodManufacure.co.uk.
“Our bread is all labelled to be 100% compliant with the law,” said Polson. “Something [used in the production process] is called a processing aid because it is no longer in the product when it is baked. Because it is no longer in the product, it does not have to be labelled.”
Confirmation that processing aids did not need added to ingredients lists came recently from the European Food Information Regulation.
The fact that unlabelled loaves still do not have to declare any ingredients at all is ironic, added Polson.
The Real Bread Campaign is part of Sustain – the alliance for better food and farming.