Josh Sosland: Bread set to play larger role in food service
BakingBusiness.com, April 26, 2010
by Josh Sosland

Amid the troubling recent news for baking related to efforts to reduce sodium intake and associating the glycemic load in the diet and heart disease for women, actual marketplace developments are positive.

At the annual meeting of the American Bakers Association last month, restaurant expert Ellen Koteff described breakfast sandwiches as one of the hottest trends in the food service industry. Her words proved prescient.

In early April, Subway Restaurants announced they would begin serving breakfast, introducing a line of “build-your-own” breakfast sandwiches served on an English muffin or flat bread. The new Subway sandwich will be offered in regular egg sandwich and healthier egg-white sandwich varieties at 25,000 restaurants in the United States. Also in recent days, Hardees and Jack in the Box have expanded their breakfast menus with new sandwich offerings.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of Subway as a flour user. The chain currently operates 32,000 restaurants in 87 countries. In the United States, Canada and Australia, Subway said it operates more restaurants than McDonald’s. It was the latter chain that revolutionized the breakfast category in 1971 with the Egg McMuffin at the dawn of what became a renaissance for grain-based foods.

Ms. Koteff said last week that heavy research and development spending by restaurant chains led to the new introductions by Subway and the other chains. It’s encouraging, not surprising, that bread plays a central role in each of the new items.