The authoritative research commissioned by Rich Products, using TNS Worldpanel (pg 4), will do little to allay the government’s fears on obesity. It shows a 14% rise in indulgence products over last year! And growth in indulgence has overtaken health for the first time. But it’s good news for the baking industry that families are trading up to quality goods, as they attract a premium price.
However, I do agree with the government that, where salt, fat or sugar are over the top, they should be reduced. That said, one very prominent Yorkshire baker told me recently how he had tendered to a pub chain with his buns, pointing out that the salt content had been reduced in line with government wishes. As a result, the pub buyer literally grabbed him by the arm and marched him out the door, forcibly stating: "My customers want as much salt, fat and sugar as they can eat!" Not surprisingly, he was left reeling.
I find I am becoming increasingly irritated by the blame placed on food. This is not the 1950s or even ’60s, when many housewives stayed at home and prepared a meal from scratch, ready for their loved ones as they walked in the door. Nowadays, all women, single mums included, who have no parental support, are told to go out to work. So who can blame them when, tired out and rushed, they reach out for an instant microwaveable meal or coated chicken nuggets, often full of allegedly ’bad’ ingredients?
What’s more, can you get your kids away from the computer or Facebook to go and play in the unsafe streets? Do you walk when you can drive? If your kids have any school playing fields left, do they get at least 45 minutes of school exercise or games each day - or even a daily assembly where listening skills, respect and values are engendered?
The other day, I was chatting to restaurateur Pru Leith who, through intensive lobbying and with support from colleagues, is helping to put cooking lessons back on the school agenda. It isn’t going to happen immediately, but at least it is being worked out.
Why on earth it should take any lobbying whatsoever is beyond me. I just hope bakers will take the opportunity to offer their services and teach youngsters how to bake a good loaf and cake - two of the most important basics in life!