As the Soil Association prepares for its processing standards review, two aspects of the relationship between food producers and consumers seem paramount: trust and transparency. The former requires the latter. Food scares in the past 20 years damaged trust in conventional producers and encouraged people to seek organic alternatives, based on honest-to-goodness principles and verified by open standards.
You cannot buy trust while disguising what really goes into your product - a point perhaps missed by lavish advertising, which insists that today’s bread is as good as ever, in defiance of research showing that modern wheat may have markedly fewer micro-nutrients than the varieties grown 100 years ago.
When consumers realise that ’clean label’ is industry-speak for ’may contain undeclared enzymes, some produced by GM methods’, they yearn for simple, honest bread. The Real Bread Campaign, launched by Sustain last November and supported by the Soil Association, exists to increase the enjoyment of just such bread. It is building a web-based Real Bread Finder that enables people to locate bakers selling the real thing, defined as appropriately fermented bread, made without additives. In future, it will team craft bakers up with schools to spread baking skills and awareness of a noble profession.
l The Soil Association, supported by the Daylesford Foundation, is launching 300 Organic Farm School courses over the next two years, including a number of courses on bread baking. Real bakers are sharing their knowledge openly, knowing that an enthusiastic home baker can tell the difference between the real and the prettily presented.