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Complaints made about ‘misleading’ bread claims used by five major UK retailers

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

The complaint was made about claims used on bread packaging in UK retail stores. Credit: Getty / clubfoto
The complaint was made about claims used on bread packaging in UK retail stores. Credit: Getty / clubfoto
Complaints about five major retailers have been submitted to trading standards bodies across the UK about ‘misleading’ claims on bread packaging.

The Real Bread Campaign has made complaints about Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Lidl and Co-op in the past 12 months, alleging that they are misusing claims such as ‘freshly baked’ on the packaging of bread products, as well as on posters, windows and point of sale displays.

The campaign claims that the retailers have been making ‘freshly baked’ and other similar claims about products that were not actually baked on site, but rather had been re-baked from chilled or frozen.

As a result, various trading standards bodies have been contacted with the campaign stating that practice is misleading and in breach of consumer protection regulations.

“UK supermarkets might not be as honest and transparent as they could about what's going on behind the scenes at some 'in-store bakery' sections,”​ the campaign said.

“In some cases, rather than employing trained bakers to make products on site from scratch (i.e. from basic ingredients), the 'bakery' is in fact what the Real Bread Campaign calls a loaf tanning salon. This is a place where staff members merely load pre-made products into an oven.”

In order to clarify its stance, the Real Bread Campaign said that the complaints made are strictly related to how bread products are marketed and do not call for supermarkets to stop selling any type of product.

Retailers respond

In response to a request for comment from Food Manufacture, a Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We reviewed our bakery services and recipes earlier this year to make sure we can make good food affordable for everyone. More of our stores now bake pre-prepared dough in store, as it allows us to offer customers the best quality in store bakery products at great value. Our bakery items are also clearly labelled in line with legislation and Trading Standards.”

A Tesco spokesperson added: “We're proud of our colleagues who freshly bake great quality, affordable bread in hundreds of our stores - and have done so since we opened our first in-store bakery in 1968.

“In some stores where we don't have the space to bake everything from scratch, we work closely with our bakery suppliers who prepare dough for us that trained colleagues bake every day in store. The signage we use in each individual store reflects the different ways we prepare bread, and our approach has been agreed with our Trading Standards Primary Authority.”

A spokesperson for Co-op also provided comment: “As a convenience retailer, we pride ourselves on offering an affordable and great quality in-store bakery range for our member owners and customers – including our much-loved Irresistible sourdough baguette which is freshly prepared and baked by trained colleagues across our stores every day.”

Food Manufacture has reached out to Morrisons and Lidl.

In other news, a new investigation into RSPCA Assured farms has revealed scenes of dying animals and unclean conditions.

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