Schmidt Baking developed 647, a line of bread that serves consumers looking for healthier bread alternatives.

There have been times when bread has faced endangerment, between the battle of the Atkins diet and the more recent negative perceptions associated with gluten. But bread never truly went away, and despite the rise in health and wellness concerns such as diabetes and Celiac disease, it’s clear it’s here to stay. “Bread is never going completely away. It’s just the styles of bread that are changing,” said Shawn Paterakis, marketing merchandiser, Schmidt Baking Co., a division of H&S Bakery, Baltimore.  

To meet the need of shifting consumer demand for different types of bread, Schmidt Baking developed 647, a line of bread that serves consumers looking for healthier bread alternatives. Named for three of its healthful attributes — 6 net carbs, 40 Cal and 7 g fiber — 647 is a one-product solution.

JR Paterakis, H&S v.p. of sales and marketing.

“647 touches every facet people are looking for when it comes to meeting health needs and still being able to eat bread,” said JR Paterakis, H&S vice-president, sales and marketing. As bread experiences a resurgence, the 647 line was developed for consumers who had stopped purchasing bread altogether for various health reasons. “It targets anyone who has an additional need — low sodium, low sugar, low carb, high fiber — so if you need just one of those things, everything else becomes an added benefit,” he said.

So far, consumer feedback has been all positive, according to the company. With a low glycemic index, 647 has been well-received by consumers with diabetes. “The significantly low glycemic index is a huge plus for diabetic consumers,” JR said. “Anyone we’ve talked to who has a family member with diabetes has raved about the product.”

He also pointed out that one of the best benefits of 647 is that there is no tradeoff in quality. “A product with such unique health attributes sometimes loses something in flavor and texture, but in our case, none of that was sacrificed,” JR noted.

Schmidt Baking spent about 14 months in product development for the 647 line, which was available June 1 in most large chains and independent retailers throughout New Jersey, Delaware, Central Pennsylvania, Northern and Southern Virginia, and parts of Southern West Virginia. It comes in three varieties: White, Wheat and Made with Honey. The product has a suggested retail price of $3.99 per loaf.

On the horizon, the company plans to extend the line into rolls sometime next year.