News / Real Bread Campaign

The truth, the wholemeal truth

Defra considers half and half loaf marketing.

50% wholemeal 50% white flour. Credit: Chris Young / www.realbreadcampaign.org CC-BY-SA-4.0

50% wholemeal 50% white flour. Credit: Chris Young / www.realbreadcampaign.org CC-BY-SA-4.0

On 17 August 2022, the Real Bread Campaign emailed Defra to question whether the use of the word ‘wholemeal’ by a number of loaf manufacturers failed to comply with article 6 of the Bread and Flour Regulations. On 26 September a member of Defra’s Food Compositional Standards Team wrote: “my team are giving further consideration to the points raised.”

Real Bread Campaign coordinator Chris Young welcomed the development, saying: “My understanding is that the regulation of the word wholemeal was brought in (and the term wheatmeal banned) to prevent people from being misled into believing that bread or flour is more wholesome than it is.”

He went on to note that, while the regulation does help towards that, “it seems that the wording of the legislation needs revising to allow bakers to give factual information about products.” He suggested that the word could be permitted in the naming or marketing of products if less than 100% of the flour used is wholemeal if the actual percentage of wholemeal flour used was stated clearly in the front-of-pack description.

Young concluded his reply to Defra: “This would also be the ideal opportunity to regulate the use of the word wholegrain at the same time.”

On 1 September, the government rejected calls to include the Real Bread Campaign’s Honest Crust Act proposals for discussion in the public consultation on the review of the Bread and Flour Regulations. Despite this setback, the Campaign continues to lobby for improved protection from misleading use of bakery marketing terms including freshly baked, wholegrain, sourdough, artisan and heritage, as well as mandatory full ingredient labelling for food that is sold unpackaged.

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Published 26 Sep 2022

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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