RHM bread bakeries is evalua-ting the Glycaemic Index diet system and any weight management benefits it offers, but has so far decided against promoting it.

Speaking as Hovis prepared for a £1.1m relaunch of its Granary range this week, marketing manager for Hovis Granary Stephen Davis told British Baker RHM Bread Bakeries is “on top of” the low Glycaemic Index diet, which ranks foods on their effect on blood sugar levels, and is evaluating it.

RHM Bread Bakeries tested a new range of four Granary loaves for their GI values, he said, but decided not to use any low-GI promotions on-pack.

Under the GI system, slowly absorbed foods, such as wholemeal bread, have a low GI

rating, while foods that are more quickly absorbed have a higher rating. But research has shown the GI system is “quite confusing to consumers”, Mr Davis said. “GI is very interesting, but it is quite confusing to consumers. It’s not something we want to major on.”

The baker is re-launching its Granary range in response to the growing demand for premium and seeded bread products. Seeded bread has become a sector in its own right, worth £82m and growing 39% year-on-year, Mr Davis said.

“We have done a lot of consumer research and found that, in some sectors, there is duplication,” he added, “but in the seeded sector there isn’t, and people are seeking more choice. We see this sector as offering the biggest opportunity for new product development.”

Two new loaves, ‘Hovis Sunflower Granary’ and ‘Hovis Country Granary’, have been introduced to the range. Every loaf now comes with a topping of seeds or seeds and grains, and has a longer shelf life. Shelf presence has been enhanced by clearer Hovis and Granary branding and improved images on packs.

All four 800g products in the Hovis Granary range are priced at £1.20, bringing pricing in line across the range, Mr Davis pointed out. Previously, Hovis’s Granary products were priced between £1.04 and £1.15. Mr Davis said the price rises covered costs of updating recipes and upgrading packaging film.