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Are Supermarket Bloomers (Still) Pants?

A Real Bread Campaign investigation of in-store bakery and own brand loaf manufacture, labelling and marketing.

Real Bread Campaign
26pp - 2018

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Eight years since publishing the original Are Supermarket Bloomers Pants? report, the Real Bread Campaign believes that what much of supermarket ‘in-store bakery’ still amounts to is little more than in-store theatre.

Are Supermarket Bloomers (Still) Pants? is based mainly on findings from Real Bread Campaign research conducted on the eight UK supermarket chains with more than 5% market share: Aldi, Asda, The Co-operative, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.

Observation from store visits and online research, combined with earlier research and industry inside-knowledge, and with the UK’s eight largest supermarket chains’ reluctance to answer survey questions, leads the Campaign to believe that practices endemic across the sector include:

  • Not displaying full lists of ingredients and additives and other facts about the methods, time and place of production, while choosing to display subjective marketing messages
  • Bringing in loaves manufactured elsewhere, in some cases outside the UK, and rebaking in store but marketing them with claims including ‘freshly baked’, ‘baked in store’ and ‘baked throughout the day’.
  • Using the word ‘sourdough’ to market loaves made using artificial additives and/or baker’s yeast; what the Campaign calls sourfaux
  • Differentiating loaves using the word ‘artisan’ and commonly charging a premium for them, when it is unclear whether they are made by a genuine artisan baker or even using the ingredients and methods that one would employ, or using additives and other industrial processes
  • The use of refined wheat and other flours in loaves marketed as ‘wholemeal’


  • Why this matters
  • Method
  • Undeclared ingredients and additives
  • Freshly faked?
  • Sourfaux
  • Artisan or artful?
  • (Not quite) 100% wholemeal
  • Justified as ancient?
  • Give us a QUID
  • Other terms
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations
  • Notes from our investigation

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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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.