Josh Sosland: More work needed to improve grain-based foods image

by Josh Sosland
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A 32-page study about supermarket shopping trends commissioned recently by the National Grocers Association is of particular interest to bakers for two reasons, neither of which is positive. First, baked foods as a category is addressed very sparsely in the paper. Other than a question about the importance to consumers of in-store bakeries and a list of changes people may make in their diets in 2010, baking and grain-based foods are invisible in the study.

Also of concern is that 35% of consumers responding to a survey for the study said they would consume less bread in 2010 than in 2009. While this result is disturbing in and of itself, it is deeply troubling that “eating less bread” was offered as the third choice in the survey out of 32 possible eating habit changes. It is worrying that eating less bread would be included at all, lumped with choices such as eating less fried foods, processed foods, junk foods, cholesterol, sodium, soda and sugar. Inclusion of a basic, healthy food like bread in this way in such a survey helps perpetuate the myth that bread is unhealthy.

The study and its results reinforce the idea that even in 2010, grain-based foods has a very long way to go toward improving its image.

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