The Government’s decision to scrap the regulation that prescribes the size of unwrapped loaves has been welcomed by craft bakers across the country.
The current regulations only allow the sale of unwrapped loaves weighing more than 300g to be made up in quantities of 400g or multiples of it. However, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), has announced plans to update the rules in order to introduce greater flexibility for bakers. It said fixed sizes for unwrapped bread would be scrapped, so bakers would be free to innovate.
In April 2009 an EC directive came into force, which saw the regulation that limited the size of packaged loaves scrapped.
Mike Holling, chairman of the National Association of Master Bakers and retail and sales manager of Birds of Derby, said he was very pleased to hear the decision. "This issue has been raised many times by the NAMB on behalf of its members. At last it gives us a level playing field to work from and I am confident many craft bakers will use this change in the regulations to develop new products for their customers."
Baker Anthony Kindred, of Kindred Bakery, said he was in two minds about the relaxation of the regulations, which he said may cause some confusion for customers as the bread would need to be priced per 100g/kilo. "We have to checkweigh our bread at the moment, to prove we’re abiding by the law, so that would go if the law changed," he said.
However, he welcomed the increased flexibility that the new ruling would give bakers, and said his customers have been discussing it as if the law had been scrapped already. "We have been watching what the big brands have been doing [since the regulations for the size of packaged loaves were scrapped]," he explained, but he added that there hadn’t been much in the way of innovation.
A Statutory Instrument introducing these changes will be laid before Parliament during the coming session.