News Real Bread Campaign

Hovis ‘wholemeal’ case referred to government

Trading standards complaint escalated to Defra for ‘greater clarity’ on half white loaf marketing.

Is this legal?. Credit: Chris Young / CC-BY-SA-4.0

Is this legal?. Credit: Chris Young / CC-BY-SA-4.0

On 11 January 2023, the Real Bread Campaign challenged Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards’s rejection of our complaint against Hovis for an apparent breach of the Bread and Flour Regulations.

On 25 January, the Legal Manager at Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards wrote:

“Having looked at the legislation I have come to the conclusion that it would help achieve greater clarity if we referred the matter to the central government department responsible for the legislation. As the product is not the only one of this type on the market we think it is important to have a definitive view from central government so that coordinated advice can be given

This service has contacted Defra with the relevant details and asked them for their opinion about how the Regulations would apply to products such as the one in question. 

Once we have received the opinion from Defra we will review our advice and contact you to inform you what the result is.”


The Campaign first wrote to the CEOs of five companies on 9 June 2022, pointing out the apparent discrepancy between their naming and marketing of products they manufactured using less than 100% wholemeal flour, and Section 6 of the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998. 

Having not received a satisfactory (and, in some cases, any) response, on 7 July, the Campaign submitted a complaint to the trading standards department of the Primary Authority for each company.

The Campaign also raised the issue with Defra back in August 2022, then followed up for an answer in September and December. On 12 December, a policy officer in Defra’s Food Compositional Standards Team, wrote: ‘The matter has been brought to the attention of officials within the food compositional standards and labelling framework and we are still considering the best course of action to address this issue.’ The Campaign followed up again on 19 January and 26 January 2023.

See also

Iceland drops loaf after Real Bread Campaign complaint

Published Thursday 26 January 2023

Real Bread Campaign: The Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Whether your interest is local food, community-focussed small enterprises, honest labelling, therapeutic baking, or simply tasty toast, everyone is invited to become a Campaign supporter.

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