Bakers have rubbished claims made in a new report by Consensus Action on Salt (CASH) that one in four bread loaves contain as much salt per slice as a packet of crisps. Fresh breads were highlighted as the worst offenders in the research, with Paul (UK), Le Pain Quotidien, Greggs and Percy Ingle featured high up in the Bread Survey 2011, which listed loaves from the highest to the lowest salt content per 100g.
National Association of Master Bakers spokesperson, and owner of Kindred Bakery Anthony Kindred told British Baker the claim that bread contained as much salt as a packet of crisps was "rubbish". He sent a reactionary statement to the press following the report, which argued: "Government guidelines seek a reduction in bread salt levels to 1g per 100g by 2012, and as stated by CASH, most breads already meet, or better, this figure, which is good news for consumers."
Retired bakery technologist Rowland Cocup got in touch with BB to say he had contacted CASH chairman, Professor Graham MacGregor, to object to the "biased comments" made regarding bread being the major contributor of salt in our diets. He said consumers would have to eat "19 medium thickness slices of British sandwich bread per day to consume 8.6g of salt".
Greggs responded, saying it had already taken significant steps to reduce salt levels across its bread range, and that it already met the Department of Health’s 2010 salt target for its national bread and rolls range, and was working towards the 2012 targets for its regional bread and rolls lines, without detriment to the taste experience for its customers.
Paul explained an error had been made on its UK website, when the recipes were translated from French to English, with sodium, instead of salt content being listed. The chain has since rectified this, and has also reduced the salt across its entire bread range by 14%, said Iain Duncan, brand director for Paul (UK). "We are also looking to reduce it by a further 11% where possible," Duncan told British Baker.
Meanwhile, the Real Bread Campaign came out in support of CASH’s calls for additional labelling on fresh breads. Kindred added that nutritional information has always been available to consumers, by asking the baker.