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New review recognises the loaf as a keystone of good health

The Federation of Bakers recently highlighted a focus on bread products in the 2020 British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) Review, which was released last month.

The updated review, supported by the Federation, examines the role of bread in the UK diet and its contribution to mass public intake of nutrients. It also investigates the components of bread and claims relating to their health benefits, as well as commercial and other trends relating to the product.

The federation noted that the demand for wrapped and sliced bread, which had increased during the pandemic (even by as much as 50%) proved that the family loaf remained one of the nation’s favourite foods.

As a staple, bread was found to be an important source of public nutrition providing, for example, 16-20% of carbohydrate intake across all age groups, 10-12% of protein, 17-21% of dietary fibre, 9-14% of folate, 15-17% of iron, 12-17% of calcium, 12-13% of magnesium and 10-11% of zinc.

While wholemeal bread is a good source of manganese and niacin, and to a slightly lesser extent magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc, thiamin and folate, white bread’s higher sales mean that widespread intake of these micronutrients is assured despite it containing them in a lesser concentration.

Gordon PolsonGordon Polson, Chief Executive of the Federation of Bakers, said of the BNF review that it re-affirms bread's place as one of the UK's favourite staple food items and is an excellent reminder of the value of bread to our diet:

"It is vital that we educate people about the range of nutrients all bread delivers – from protein and fibre to vitamins and minerals - as the food has something to offer almost everyone," he emphasised. "Bread provides 16-20% of carbohydrate intake (mainly starch) across all age groups but offers so much more than just energy. Wholemeal and white bread combined provides 17-21% of dietary fibre across all age groups, which the most recent NDNS survey indicated that UK intake of is falling below the recommended amounts of, as well as 12-17% of our intake of calcium and 10-12% of our protein intake."

"New ingredients and technology have seen the variety of breads available expand and sales of seeded bread, in particular, have been increasing in recent years (Kantar Worldpanel 2018; Mintel 2019b). By continuing to adapt to consumer tastes and trends and taking advantage of new technology, the bread industry will continue to provide the UK with these important nutrients long into the future," Polson concluded.