News Real Bread Campaign

The truth, the wholemeal truth?

Defra considers half and half loaf marketing.

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

50% wholemeal 50% white flour. Credit: Chris Young / 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.


30 January 2023: A Policy Advisor on Defra's Food Compositional Standards Team sent a reply.

26 January 2023: We emailed Defra, asking for answers to the questions in our 12 December email.

19 January 2023: We emailed Defra, asking for answers to the questions in our 12 December email.

12 December 2022: Defra replied: "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." We responded by asking how bakers, bread buyers and other stakeholders will be involved in the decision-making process, as well as for an approximate timeline for it.

7 December 2022: We emailed Defra to ask for an update.

See also

Published Monday 26 September 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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