Gordon Polson

Director, Federation of Bakers

The end of 2011 is fast approaching and it is time to reflect on a year where health pledges and food myths have played a prominent role.

The Department of Health’s Public Health Responsibility Deal was officially launched on 15 March and the Federation of Bakers (FoB) is helping members to deliver against pledges made, focusing on calorie information, trans-fats and salt as part of the Deal.

Salt is the biggest area of focus for us and we remain committed to continuing our work to reduce salt levels in bread. However, we need to be realistic about salt reduction targets and we feel that all bread, including unpackaged bread, must aim to meet the same targets if we are to educate the palates of consumers to enjoy a lower-salt product. We also have to bear in mind that salt plays a significant technological role in bread-making.

We have worked hard to try and correct some of the myths that perpetuate about bread being unhealthy. We need to help people realise that all bread is good for you. Frequently, we see bread accused of being "fattening", "high in calories" or "guilty of causing food allergies". This misleads people, encouraging them away from a valuable carbohydrate important for a healthy diet.

On a lighter note, last month The Royal Society of Chemistry revived a Victorian dish, labelled the ’austerity sandwich’ by the media. The meal, costing 7.5p and first promoted by food writer Mrs Beeton, consists of two slices of bread around a slice of toast. The society was offering £200 to anyone who could create a cheaper alternative, showing they, too, recognise what great value bread is, although a more varied assortment of fillings might be worth considering.