Among all food groups, the bread category has been one of the biggest innovators in recent times. Health and convenience have been the main factors behind this drive, which has led to manufacturers introducing a variety of new lines. For example, we’ve seen Granary loaves in white formats, prebiotic breads, breads with Omega 3, as well as breads fortified with folic acid. Manufacturers have also incorporated other popular ingredients, such as oats and sunflower seeds.
Children, and their parents who buy bread, are extremely important to our industry. These days, high fibre doesn’t have to be brown in appearance; "whole white" types are baked with over a third of naturally pale wholemeal flour, so it looks just like white bread and, importantly, kids believe it is!
With manufacturers playing their part in driving the category forward, the Federation has been working hard to innovate in other ways. Our salt reduction programme has been an example across the whole food industry, especially as salt is a fundamental part of bread-making. Working with the Food Standards Agency, there have been big reductions in salt levels in the last 10 years, with targets set to reduce even further.
The UK bread market is now worth more than £3 billion and is full of recognisable brands with which consumers identify. Latest TNS research showed that brands are enjoying double-digit growth. This clearly indicates that bread is still heading in the right direction and, through innovation, will remain at the top of the nation’s shopping list.