Author Andrew Whitley fielded questions from nearly 100 delegates at the British Society of Baking’s Spring Conference this week.

Whitley, who last year published his controversial book Bread Matters, the State of Modern Bread, told the conference that changing bread-making practices, from wheat growing through to milling and industrial bread-making itself, had created a situation where "we are heading into environmental, nutritional and commercial oblivion."

He used the conference as a platform to launch "a campaign for real bread", asking delegates to support his bid to make "bread as good as we can make it". Thomas Adams, MD of craft bakery chain Oliver Adams, told Whitley he agreed with a lot of the book’s content, but said he was "shooting at the wrong target", as the baking industry was not the culprit. "The government has been pushing a cheap food policy, pursued by retailers, to keep inflation down," said Adams.

Taking a question from the floor, Whitley defended himself from drawing unsubstantiated conclusions in his book. He said: "It would be irresponsible to see the beginnings of evidence and dismiss it as anecdotal."