PETALUMA, CALIF. — Established in 1978, Alvarado Street Bakery has been making clean label bread long before it was the norm. The Petaluma-based bakery began as a cooperative business dedicated to making “food for people, not profit” and produced a modest lineup of sprouted whole grain, organic baked foods for the San Francisco Bay Area. Today, the bakery maintains its co-op structure with 83 employees but expanded its portfolio to include a wide range of bread, bagels and tortillas that can be found throughout the United States and internationally in Japan, Kuwait, Mexico and more.
Complementing its modern lineup of products, Alvarado Street recently added Sprouted Wheat Hemp & Hops bread to its Black Label line of U.S.D.A.-certified organic sprouted grain bread. Following in the path of its Legacy line, Black Label bread is made with 100% whole sprouted wheat and loaded with seed and grain mixtures, both as inclusions and fully enrobed. The Sprouted Wheat Hemp & Hops bread leverages the flavor of hops while delivering the healthy attributes of sprouted wheat.
A strong consumer interest in novel flavor concepts spurred the creation of Sprouted Wheat Hemp & Hops, and the company hopes to reach a younger demographic with its launch. The bread is specifically targeted at adventurous consumers who tend to eat healthier but also enjoy cracking open a craft beer.
“Bakeries and breweries have always used many of the same ingredients — grain, yeast, barley and malt — and we took this opportunity to add in one more: finishing hops,” said Michael Girkout, director of marketing and sales, Alvarado Street. “The hops bring a slight bitterness that is thoroughly unexpected and completely delicious.”
In addition, the sprouted wheat provides nutritional benefits that can aid digestion.
“True sprouted wheat breads are very rare in most markets,” Mr. Girkout explained. “While there are a few bakeries using ‘sprouted flour’ and calling it sprouted wheat, that’s very different compared to what we do.”
During the product development process, the company explored various applications that could give Sprouted Wheat Hemp & Hops a premium edge. Initially, the bakery attempted to fully cover the bread in its signature mix of seeds and grains using an inline topper but found the method to be unsustainable and opted to purchase new equipment. By investing in an enrobing machine, the bakery now efficiently applies the ingredients to give the bread a look that visually communicates its decadence.
The product made its debut at the Natural Products Expo West in March and was also on display at the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association’s annual show in June before it launched nationally in July.
“In all cases, people who tried it, loved it,” Mr. Girkout said, adding that buyers were eager to get it onto shelves.
Sprouted Wheat Hemp & Hops is available at retailers across the United States in 24-oz deli-style loaves and has a suggested retail price of $4.99 to $5.99, depending on the region.