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Bread and Cheese Day, Brits’ 63 billion slice obsession, and more

ciabatta bread prosciutto parmesan and arugula in paper with orange juice on background top view

One of the best things about bread is the simple fact that so many billions of people around the world eat it, which means we’re never short of curious and quirky bread tales to tell. Here are some of the best bread stories from the current crop.

Naughty Kenyan bread makers forced to mend their wicked ways

Food here in the UK is extensively labelled. We know where it comes from, what it weighs, the ingredients and their origins, the additives and the calories it contains, the sell by date, the ‘best by’ date and more. Kenya is different. Now the Competition Authority of Kenya has demanded the country’s bread makers print the weight, expiry date, and fortification ingredients on bread wrappers.

It’s important because recently, unscrupulous bread manufacturers have been ‘forgetting’ to include the exact weight of the loaves they sell. The competition watchdog also found bakers are ‘enticing unsuspecting consumers with false advertising on ingredients’ in an attempt to boost sales. Some brands’ labels misled consumers by claiming their product contained milk or butter when it didn’t, and others either ‘omitted applicable months’ in the expiry date printed on bread packaging, or printed the packaging so badly that the expiry date was unreadable.

The USA honours the 100th anniversary of ‘Wonder Bread’

Over the Atlantic Senator Mike Braun and Congressman Andr√© Carson are honouring the 100th Anniversary of Wonder Bread at the Taggart Baking Company in Indianapolis. The ‘joint resolution’ celebrates Wonder Bread, a product founded in Indiana in 1905 by the Taggart family. Their ‘soft bread’, widely and rather disturbingly described as ‘pillowy’, inspired millions of Americans to ditch home baking in favour of factory bread. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Bread makes itself heard in the English language

Bread has been at the heart of what it means to be human for thousands of years, and the word turns up in the oddest places. Take the word ‘companion’. Take it back to the Latin and you realise ‘cum’ means ‘with’, and ‘panis’ means bread. So a companion is actually a person you’d sit and eat bread with.

Then there’s the word ‘lord’. The old English word ‘hlaford’ means a person who is the keeper of the bread, the ancient root of the word ‘lord’. So a lord was once the person who controlled the food supply in times when around 80% of most people’s calories came from bread.

Canada’s Six Nations Bread and Cheese Day ‘paused’ thanks to covid

The Six Nations of the Grand River region of Canada is the First Nations’ biggest Canadian Reserve, and it has just been forced to pause its 155 year tradition, Bread and Cheese Day. The event kicked off in the 1860s when Queen Victoria started giving blankets to the Haudenosaunee people to show her appreciation for their support in the 1812 war. The tradition stopped in 1901 when the old queen died, then sprang back to life in 1924. But instead of giving blankets, a loaf of bread and a hunk of cheese became the new symbolic gift.

‘Which’ rules on which toastie maker is the best

You can’t beat a simple cheese toastie for a fast, tasty snack. But what if the toastie maker you’re using isn’t up to the task? The consumer organisation ‘Which’ has just tested a bunch of sandwich toasters to find out which make toasties the way you’d expect and which are a let-down.

Half the toastie makers tested left some parts of the bread totally uncooked. Some toastie makers cooked the whole toastie from crust to crust, others came with tiny, weeny cooking plates that squished the bread out of the sides, leaving much of it untoasted. One or two were so bad they left almost a quarter of each slice uncooked. Oh, the horror!

Hovis workers on strike thanks to pay inequalities

Hovis workers in Northern Ireland walked out on Friday morning. They were protesting about the fact that while the Hovis Belfast site is more profitable than the other eight British factories, Irish workers are paid 10% less than their counterparts in the rest of the UK. Shoppers over there are already seeing ‘noticeable bread shortages’ in corner shops and supermarkets.

Hovis says they’ve already had two pay offers rejected by Irish workers, and claims their employees in Northern Ireland don’t actually earn 10% less than UK workers because the unions are not comparing like-for-like roles.

At the same time the celebrity chef Tom Kerridge has become the new face of Hovis bread, a move designed to help them compete with rival Warburton’s tame celeb George Clooney.

We eat 63 billion slices of bread a year

63 billion is a huge number. That’s how many slices of bread we eat every year in the UK, according to new research commissioned by the bakery brand Genius and involving 2000 adults. Apparently the average Brit includes bread in nine meals every week and consumes 900 slices per year.

Lidl’s banana bread craft beer

In a week where one local Surrey newspaper reveals a grand total of 22 different recipes for the pandemic baking craze Banana Bread, Lidl has launched a banana bread craft beer for the summer. It’s a 5.2% ale with a flavour inspired by the lockdown bake, made at Bedford’s Eagle Brewery. The drink is being described as ‘rich and fruity’ with a ‘banoffee flavour’ that’s also a ‘rich malt blend and peppery hops’. It’s made using Fairtrade bananas and is just one of 20 brilliant boozy creations on sale in Lidl’s British Craft Beer Festival 2021 selection.

FREE artisan bread samples

We’re delighted to say that our world is a very exciting place right now, with more orders flooding in than we could possibly predict in a covid world. If you’re in foodservice and you’d like to test drive our gorgeous artisan breads for yourself, feel free to request some tasty free samples, delivered to your door at no charge.