Bankers for Bread initiative Real Bread Campaign  2100x1400

Source: Tushar Menon / Ourselves

Sandwich boards marched around the streets of London this week were aimed at encouraging financial sector support for local craft bakery businesses.

The three-day initiative, entitled Bankers for Bakers, was run on a pro-bono basis by B Corp-certified creative studio Ourselves in collaboration with the Real Bread Campaign (RBC). It formed part of the campaign’s Real Bread Week – 17 to 25 February – described as an annual, international celebration of additive-free bread and the people behind its rise.

Boards were boldly emblazoned with the messages ‘Your dough can save our bread’ and ‘Bankers, we knead your dough’. Smaller text underneath noted that ‘rising costs have put thousands of independent bakeries at risk of closing’, with a call to action to ‘Dough-nate today’ via the RBC website.

“Independent bakers graft and craft at the hearts of thousands of our local communities across the UK,” commented RBC coordinator Chris Young. “While it’s an innovative, vibrant sector, too many of their small businesses are under threat of closure. This is largely due to skyrocketing costs of energy, ingredients, salaries and rent.

“All this at the same time that tightening budgets on the other side of the counter are limiting customers’ spending ability. More dough going out and less coming in means that far too many of our – formerly thriving – local real bread bakeries are now facing financial crisis,” added Young.

Banks, bankers, and people employed in the financial sector are advised they can make a difference by either:

  • Supporting a small, local, independent bakery by enjoying their wares
  • Funding a Real Bread For All scheme (helping to make real, bread more accessible to communities) or free/discounted bread making classes
  • Making a one-off donation to the RBC or committing to regular support payments

RBC also organises the annual Sourdough September event (check out our round-up of sourdough product launches that coincided with the 2023 edition). The campaign defines real bread as made without chemical raising agents, so-called processing aids or other additives – it estimates around 95% of what is sold as bread in the UK falls short of this.

Last month, the RBC welcomed Defra’s decision to introduce a legal definition for wholemeal flour. However, it more recently expressed disapproval of an industry statement that said bread brands wouldn’t need to remove the word ‘wholemeal’ from packaging on half and half loaves.