British Bread News – March 2015
It’s that time again, and we’ve tracked down some fascinating items of bread-related news for you. New archaeological discoveries prove Brits ate wheat long before arable farming arrived here. ‘Franken-muffins’ that last forever. And the threat that half of the nation’s food may come from abroad by 2040. Read on for bread-led thrills and spills!
Prehistoric Brits loved their loaves
Apparently ancient Britons were much more than hunter gatherers. We were bakers too, and we made flatbread.
A team at the University of Warwick have discovered wheat DNA just off the Isle of Wight on a Mesolithic shipyard site. It dates back 8000 years, but tests reveal the wheat was grown elsewhere, milled abroad and imported as flour.
It looks like while farming didn’t take hold in the UK until 2000 years later and the nearest wheat farmers at the time were in southern Europe and the Near East, we enjoyed distant trade links. The scientists theorise the ancient boat builders used flatbreads to complement a protein-rich diet of game, plants and nuts. We theorise it’s no wonder us Brits love our bread so much to this day, since we’ve been eating it for eight thousand years or more!
Scary Franken-muffins – Should food really last forever?
What does ‘fresh’ mean in a foodservice context? Sometimes it means the item might as well be prehistoric, it’s so well preserved. Here’s what a reporter from The Independent says:
“More than a month ago, I bought a chocolate chip muffin from one of those would-be Italian chain coffee bars. In its homespun-looking paper wrapper, the muffin looked as though it had just come from the baker’s oven. It bore no ingredients list – that’s perfectly legal for food sold loose – but having a shrewd idea from my investigations into the processed food industry of the likely ingredients, I didn’t eat it.
Instead, this muffin has become an illuminating experiment. It’s still sitting on my desk, looking exactly as it did at the end of January: no mould, no dryness, no obvious signs of age.”
How come? It’s because the muffin was one of those so called ‘fresh-like’ products that, while they seem fresh, are actually stuffed to the eyeballs with nasty additives to keep them moist and new-seeming for weeks and weeks.
In contrast our beautiful, super-fresh, fragrant breads are instantly freeze dried the second they’ve cooled down enough, straight from the oven. If you think your foodservice customers deserve better than nasty Frankenfoods, try our superb ‘frozen no additives’ breads. That’s more like it.
UK farmers: “alarm bells should be ringing over the future of food”
Research by the National Farmer’s Union doesn’t bode well for the nation’s food independence. Apparently Britain is experiencing a “downward spiral of self sufficiency” which means we’re growing, making, rearing and eating less British food year on year.
Allegedly, right now just 60% of food we eat is British. It’s tipped to reduce even further to a horrific 53% in 25 years time. It could even fall below 50% by 2080. And the NFU says the prospect of the UK becoming less than 50% self-sufficient should “ring alarm bells across all political parties.”
Quite so. Otherwise we’ll be left in a very vulnerable position when – for example – climate change or disease destroys our crops completely one year, or another country decides to wage war on us. Then what happens? Do we starve? The whole thing seems dangerously short-sighted.
Food security is no joke. Thank goodness a few businesses, ours included, are bucking the trend, with Red Tractor certification under our belts and absolutely no plans to import wheat or flour from anywhere else… ever!