In summer 2009, the Real Bread Campaign made a submission to LOCOG’s food standards consultation process(1). None of the recommendations appears in ‘Food vision for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games’ (2). Despite setting standards for may other food types, and outlining the challenge of serving 14 million meals during the Games and 25,000 loaves in the athletes’ village alone (3), LOCOG has not set any standards for bread or baked goods.
Real Bread Campaign Coordinator Chris Young said ‘This is a huge missed opportunity for the Games to have given London a lasting loaf legacy of Real Bread. Why did they choose not to support the creation of skilled jobs at small, local, independently owned bakeries? How could they simply ignore this staple of our diet when they have set standards for chocolate and cheese?’
In July 2012, the Campaign asked Jan Matthews, LOCOG’s Head of Catering, what percentage of loaves served will meet one or more of the following criteria: produced by independently-owned SME bakeries; baked from scratch in a London borough; made without the use of any artificial additives or processing aids; or be choices that are representative of the cultural diversity of Londoners, London bakeries, and our Olympics guests. Her reply was ‘sorry, we can’t provide that information.’
Additive-laced burger buns
Recently, LOCOG boasted of 'sourdough bread from Tower Hamlets made in a traditional brick oven lined with peat from the Thames' being served during the Olympics (4).
Chris Young said: ‘We love the idea that everyone attending the Games would have the chance to enjoy such Real Bread, but we believe this is really just PR spin. Given that both the Games’ Head of Catering and press office have avoided our questions, we strongly suspect that only a handful of VIPs will have the opportunity. The rest of us will probably have few choices other than additive-laced burger buns from a grinning clown.’
The Londoners’ Loaf
To help compensate for the Games’ apparent lack of support for small London bakeries, the Campaign has joined forces with London Food Link’s Jellied Eel magazine to find the capital’s favourite Real Bread. People can find The Londoners’ Loaf competitors and vote at jelliedeelmag.org
1) The Real Bread Campaign’s 2009 submission to LOCOG’s London 2012 Food Vision consultation:
Procurement of locally-baked Real Bread for the London 2012 Olympic Games
Greater London boasts an almost unrivalled variety of specialist bakers of the traditional breads of dozens of countries and cultures. Procurement of this staple food from a number of such bakeries will allow the London 2012 Olympic Games to reflect not only the baking heritage of the host nation but also the diversity of London food culture.
Supply of 100% natural breads from independent local bakeries will ensure the provision of genuinely fresh, high-quality, authentic versions of breads to cater for the diversity of taste preferences of athletes, guests, staff and spectators alike. Providing a valuable link between the London 2012 Games and local business, the arrangement will reduce food miles and provide a peerless showcase for local independent bakeries.
Part of Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming, the Real Bread Campaign champions locally-produced, 100% additive-free loaves, and finds ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Membership of the Real Bread Campaign is open to everyone who cares about the state of bread in Britain.
Key current initiatives from the Real Bread Campaign include: