Stephen Smart, head of development at Greenhalgh’s Craft Bakery, has hit back at suggestions that white bread is unhealthy.
This week, Marks & Spencer (M&S) announced it was adding fibre to all of its pre-packed loaves, including its white loaves, in an effort to make them “healthier for all the family”.
Smart, speaking to Nicky Campbell and Clare McDonnell on BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast, defended the credentials of the white bread made by craft bakeries.
He said: “White bread is not bad for you, it is usually the stuff we put on it - you know, butter you can see your teeth in as you bite into it.
“Forty per cent of our intake should be from carbs and… bread is a very good source of carbs.”
Smart predicted a bright future for white bread, saying there was a resurgence of interest in the product at the artisan end of the spectrum, such as the Scotch loaf and sourdough, and argued that there was little demand for wholemeal-style versions of these.
To get healthy white bread, he urged consumers to visit markets and craft bakeries, where bakers gave more time to allow their loaves to mature naturally without the addition of emulsifiers and improvers.
Smart also argued that the popularity of wholemeal and seeded loaves was due to taste and not perceived health benefits.
“At this moment in time, our most popular loaf is a multi-seed bread. It is multi-seed bread but people are not buying it because it is healthy or because it is seen as a wholemeal-type product.”
Although initially marketed as a low-GI loaf, Smart said the multi-seed bread only became popular when customers were encouraged to experience the bread’s taste through samples.
Listen to the whole interview on the BBC website. The interview started at 1:42.