‘It’s time to give sliced bread a makeover’

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Sliced bread: the best thing since the egg?
Sliced bread: the best thing since the egg?

Related tags Bread

Sliced bread needs to undergo a public and health professional perception transformation – “just like eggs did” – with key industry figures conceding they haven’t always done enough to battle “bread bashing” in the media.

That was the overwhelming consensus to come out of last month's annual conference of the Federation of Bakers (FoB).

Delegates at the event – held at Lord’s cricket ground in London – said they were determined to step up their efforts to promote the positive nutritional benefits of bread after what had been a trying year in terms of harvests and regulation, as well as publicity.

The conference heard the FoB had launched a ‘Slice of Life’ PR campaign spearheaded by nutritionist and writer Amanda Ursell, with backing from actress and celebrity MasterChef winner Lisa Faulkner.

Not getting through

Alex Mayfield, business director at Warburtons and the FoB’s new chairman, said the key messages on the nutritional benefits of bread had not been getting through.

“As a Federation we have not yet got the messages across to a wider audience and that is why this campaign has come about,”​ he said.

Ursell added that consumers needed to be educated that bread was a nutrient-rich source of calories, that flour in white bread was fortified with calcium and that there had been a 40% reduction in salt over the past decade.

“Eggs did a brilliant job of turning its image around at one point it was the only food that had a limit to the amount you should eat. White bread needs to turn its image around too.”

No quick fixes

While the campaign has already started to target key journalists, nutritionists and consumers, FoB chairman Gordon Polson warned there would be no quick fixes.

“The image of eggs was not transformed overnight, but it does give us encouragement to move forward,”​ he added.

Later the conference heard that plant bakers were likely to face further salt reduction targets next year under the government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal – despite hitting the 2012 target of 0.4g of sodium per 100g of product.

Richard Cienciala, deputy director of health and well-being at the Department of Health, said it was likely there would be “further scope”​ for reductions in some areas. Mayfield, however, argued bakers had already done enough.

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