Irwin’s Bakery is a slice ahead of the game, with the launch of its new bread sizes. These come in advance of a new EU directive in April 2009, which will see historical bread weight restrictions lifted.

Irwin’s, based in Co. Armagh, is bringing in new smaller loaf sizes in one of its signature brands and claims it is the first bakery to offer new sizes in Northern Ireland.

Irwin’s tested the waters of the non-standard bread weight market this summer, by trialling three new smaller loaves in its Nutty Krust range, to gauge consumer demand. The bakery decided to make its 600g Nutty Krust Sunflower & Pumpkin Seed, 600g Malted Grain, and 400g Half Loaf permanently available, after 300,000 were purchased after the launch.

“It’s a major step for any bakery to introduce different bread sizes after decades of uniform weight restrictions, because it involves significant investment in new product development, processing and packaging capabilities,” said Michael Murphy, Irwin’s commercial controller.

“We decided to take the step, and to do it as early as we could, because our ongoing analysis is that the traditional ‘one size fits all’ 800g loaf is not what all consumers want.”

Murphy added that in Irwin’s British and Republic of Ireland export markets, consumer habits are quite diverse, and these new sizes will allow people to enjoy the bread they buy while it is at its freshest, cutting down on wastage. Irwin’s also hopes its new bread sizes will help grow its export market.