A week is a long time in food politics. This week, leafy greens were said to slow mental decline in older people - just beware of pre-packed salads because 5% contain listeria, claimed the Food Standards Agency. A study found that eating walnuts with meals is a godsend for limiting damage to arteries - just don’t mention the fat content to obesity campaigners. And in these very pages we discover that eating honey before bedtime helps you sleep and lose weight (pg 6) - assuming you don’t fall asleep on a hornets’ nest.
The debate around what we put in our foods is as confusing as ever and only a few major manufacturers will not have had their feathers ruffled by the health police in recent times. Even KFC opted to ditch trans fats in the US this week. Bakery is no exception, as nutritionist Fiona Hunter says, taking up the trans fats debate (pg 14).
But what if, as is often the case with scientific claims, the pendulum swings back from where it came? Inevitably, before long, scientists will be decrying how trans fats boost your IQ, cure cancer, and make you irresistible to the opposite sex. We will discover that salmonella is "simply misunderstood" - a great cure for constipation and aids weight-loss.
Manufacturers and retailers are in self-examination mode, from trans fats to local sourcing of bakery products. "More and more, corporate reputation is playing a part in where people go to buy their services - local and ethical sourcing is massively important," said Asda’s bakery director Huw Edwards at the recent BSB conference.
There is a real opportunity for local producers and Tesco’s intriguing bread map shows that local tastes can never be pigeonholed (pg 4-5).
At least one good news story came out of Iceland this week, following the nation’s unpopular return to whale bothering, with supplier Bakkavor claiming market leadership in several categories in the UK (pg 12). Meanwhile, the meteoric rise of Farmhouse Fare, profiled in British Baker at the tail end of last year, continues apace with the packaged desserts business taken over by Daniels Chilled Foods (pg 9). We wish them well under the new ownership.