In this first season of Since Sliced Bread, we’ve been asking industry leaders why consumers are turning away from bread and how to bring them back. Tom Gumpel, founder and chief executive officer of MDJ Baking and former vice-president of bakery research and development for Panera Bread, said people are still consuming carbs. They’re just doing it in a different way.
“One of the big reasons is the notion of sliced bread in and of itself is a shrinking category,” he said. “It’s not just dissolving, but it’s actually scattering into other aspects of what is bread, how people use bread.”
While sliced bread declines, other baking industry segments like tortillas are picking up the slack. And a large part of the problem, Mr. Gumpel argues, is the lack of innovation from the bread producers. He appeals to the baking industry to move away from white bread and take the time to put in the work to make flavorful bread that is nutritious.
To reach these goals, Mr. Gumpel proposes two avenues: sprouted grains and long fermentation. In this episode, he speaks to how consumers are moving the needle in this direction. Listen to find out more about how grassroots movements are upending bread baking and how these ingredients and processes could be incorporated into commercial production.