The baking industry launched a public relations offensive this week in a bid to get bread back into the shopping baskets of women hooked on fad diets that outlaw carbohydrate consumption.

The campaign, which targets the national media and women’s magazines, aims to guide women between the ages of 30-40 towards adopting more balanced eating habits, with bread included as part of a daily routine via the Vitality Eating System (VES).

Carefully avoiding the word ‘diet’, the VES – a joint campaign between the Federation of Bakers, the Flour Advisory Bureau and the Grain Information System – has launched its ‘Pressure To Be Perfect’ research, which claims the 30- to 40-year-old age group is no longer shunning carbohydrates.

The January survey of 1,000 women found that bread, rice and pasta were rated positively by 66% of the sample – second only to fruit and vegetables, which achieved the highest rating.

The research focused on body image and eating habits, pregnancy and motherhood, attitudes to ageing, and the psychological effects brought about by dieting. It examined why women of that age group feel pressured towards realising a ‘physical ideal’ and stressed the importance of a balanced diet containing carbohydrates such as bread.

Women wise up

FoB director Gordon Polson says: “The research clearly indicates that the days of carbohydrate-free diets are over. Consumers seem to have wised up to fad diets and now realise the importance of carbohydrates as part of a healthy, balanced diet.”

Television presenter Gabby Logan was drafted in to front the VES campaign, which has previously used celebrities Lorraine Kelly and Cat Deeley to promote its message.

VES promotes a well-balanced diet plus moderate exercise for weight loss and weight management as an alternative to low-carb diets and as a long-term solution to ‘yo-yo’ dieting.

The seven-day diet contains complex carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta and cereals, along with protein, fruit and vegetables.

What the survey revealed

- 43% of respondents were on a permanent diet, while 20% claim to be in a constant battle of overeating followed by fasting or exercise.

- Over a quarter of 30-something women think about their weight ‘several times a day’

- Bread, rice and pasta were rated positively by 66% of the sample

- Only 27% of new mothers adopted a weight loss regime of combining a balanced diet with exercise.