A growing community of migrant workers, hungry for a taste of home, is fuelling growth in traditional Polish breads while also stimulating interest in traditional eastern European bakery among ’standard white loaf’ Brits.
Although still only a footnote in UK bread sales reports, consumption of rye and other loaves indigenous to eastern Europe is on the increase, according to The Polish Bakery in Wembley, London. It is an important enough segment of the market to have persuaded both Asda and Budgens to flag up its products in their London stores.
The bakery, which is applying for BRC accreditation, having recently moved to a new 700sq m unit in Abbeyvale, makes half-wheat, half-rye flavoured breads, doughnuts, cheese buns and custard buns, but is planning to extend the range with more traditional recipes, using ingredients sourced from Poland.
Set up in 2002 by Romuald Damaz, who comes from a family of award-winning Warsaw bakers, it now employs around 20 staff and is introducing lean manufacturing techniques with the help of the London Manufacturing Advisory Service.
Damaz’s business partner Agnes Gabriel said homesick Polish workers, who number nearly 250,000 in the UK, were still the company’s biggest customers, but the unique texture and flavour of Polish breads also appealed to health-conscious Brits and other ethnic groups. "Traditional Polish bread is a mixture of wheat and rye flour. The rye gives the special texture and flavour and we also use caraway, sunflower and poppy seeds. They are all very healthy."