Acrylamide, which is formed in low-protein, high-carbohydrate foods cooked at high temperatures, could become a health issue, particularly with well-fired breads. The World Health Organization is now looking at it. There is a feeling that the research that is being done will show that very high levels of acrylamide intake will be classed as cancer-inducing – a geo-toxic in the same class as Sudan 1.
I think the market should feel optimistic about 2006. The move back to healthy bread, wholemeal bread and the revival – I hope – of the artisan baker is going to be very good news for both retailers and manufacturers. For companies like ourselves which has set itself up for artisan breads, rather than industrial plant, we see that as a major growth area for supermarkets and small independents alike. I think there’s room for everybody in the marketplace.
I think we’re going to see more independent people coming back into bakery. We are getting enquiries from people looking at buying equipment and setting up their own small- to medium-sized business specialising in artisan breads. We are also seeing more restaurants serving bread before the meal. France, Italy and Spain have never lost that.