Real Bread Campaign


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Facts and Figures

Statistics and facts about the rise of Real Bread in Britain.

If you have a bread fact from a reliable source to add to this list, please email it, along with the source, to realbread [at] sustainweb.org

Some Real Bread Campaign facts and figures

Updated in January 2017

Since the Campaign was launched by the charity Sustain and Andrew Whitley of Bread Matters on 26 November 2008, more than...

  • 27,800 Twitterers have followed @RealBread
  • 10,000 kids have learned to bake through our Lessons in Loaf and Bake Your Lawn initiatives
  • 5000 people have benefitted from the information in our Knead to Know microbakery guide book
  • 4000 people have enjoyed the recipes in Slow Dough: Real Bread
  • 3000 people have joined the Real Bread Campaign
  • 750 bakeries have listed their additive-free loaves on our Real Bread Finder map
  • 200 bakeries have signed up to use The Real Bread Loaf Mark

More stats and facts...

  • As our Lessons in Loaf and Bake Your Lawn guides have been downloaded thousands of times from our website and tes.co.uk, the actual number of young bakers we've inspired is likely to be higher.

  • Of 100 Knead to Know readers we asked in March 2012, 22% of them had stared their Real Bread business since reading the book and a further 39% were planning to do so

  • More than 880 of our paid-up Campaign supporters subscribe to The Real Baker-e, our online forum in which members ask for and share ideas and information with each other.

  • In spring 2012, we sent 280 packets of organic wheat seeds to more than 200 schools, along with our Bake Your Lawn guide on how to grow it, mill it, bake it, eat it.

  • Inspiring the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to put Real Bread on the Menu at all 26 of its school and nursery canteens across the whole borough.

  • Arranging more than a dozen workshops for school teachers, public sector caterers and people involved in running food co-operatives and other community food enterprises. Collectively, these shared the whys and hows of teaching Lessons in Loaf and putting Real Bread on the Menu with people from nearly 100 institutions and other organisations around the UK.
  • Ensuring that caterers serving Real Bread are recognised by Food For Life when applying for their silver or gold Catering Mark.

  • Creating a range of publications, including the reports Are Supermarket Bloomers Pants? and A Wholegrain of Truth?

  • Securing an Advertising Standards Authority ruling that a ‘baked from scratch’ loaf claim in a T*sco advert was ‘untruthful’.

  • The Campaign won the honorary award in the Young British Foodies 2013, was a finalist in the BBC Food & Farming Awards 2012, and its website was named one of the top 50 by The Independent.

  • Securing ongoing media coverage that celebrates Real Bread and its bakers, and questions what hidden costs might lie behind the industrial loaf business.

Campaign research

Sadly, we've yet to secure funding to carry out the bread-related research that is much needed, but here are a few surveys we've carried out.

Britain says hidden additives are unacceptable

In April 2009, the Real Bread Campaign and the Real Food Festival commissioned AGR Food & Drink Market Research to study people's attitudes to the fact that the law allows industrial loaf manufacturers to leave certain artificial additives (deemed processing aids) off ingredients labels. Of 641 people surveyed, 93% said they believe this is unacceptable.

This majority attitude was reaffirmed by the October 2011 survey of 1300 people around the UK commissioned by the Real Bread Campaign from Toluna. This found that:

  • more than 71% of us believe it’s unacceptable that food additives known as ‘processing aids’ don’t have to appear on an ingredients list
  • more than 70% of us believe it’s unacceptable that an ingredient/additives list doesn’t have to be displayed for unwrapped loaves

Real Bread tastes better

In July 2011, the Real Bread Campaign carried out a blind taste test in the village of Chorleywood. People were invited to sample two identical-looking cubes taken from white loaves - one Real Bread and the other a wrapped-sliced factory loaf - and simply asked 'which tastes better?'. More than 72% (50 out of the 69 people) preferred the taste of the cubes that turned out to be Real Bread.

Some facts and figures from Campaign members and friends

We're always asking our members and supporters to let us know things they've seen that indicate Real Bread's rise in popularity.

NB - Though we strive to obtain information from reliable, authoritative sources, neither the Real Bread Campaign or Sustain can vouch for that sourced from third parties.

April 2012

  • The Cookery School in Little Portland Street in London says bookings for their Real Bread baking workshops have risen by 25% since 2009
  • River Cottage has increased the number of bread courses they are running in 2012 by 20%
  • The School of Artisan Food in Nottinghamshire says ran 29 bread making days in 2010, 54 in 2011; and plan to run even more in 2012.
  • Bakery Bits owner Patrick Thornberry says that stoneground flours from Traditional Cornmillers Guild mills have been ‘a big hit’
  • Shipton Mill owner John Lister says ‘The general view is that more people are baking at home, and if our sales were a simple reflection of this they too are going up!’
  • Sybille Wilkinson, who with her husband Andrew owns Gilchesters, said ‘The flour has been flying of the shelf in the last year. Even January, which is usually a quiet month for us, has been fantastic!’

Official figures

Bakeries

Official governmental statistics for the number of bakeries in Britain are collected by the Office of National Statistics. These can be found in section C (manufacturing) of the Annual Business Survey.

The number of businesses involved in the 'Manufacture of bread; manufacture of fresh pastry goods and cakes' (Standard Industrial Classification 15.81 revised in 2007 and now coded 10.71) are as follows:

1997    2,226
1998    2,317
1999    2,149
2000    2,052
2001    1,946
2002    1,870
2003    1,784
2004    1,701
2005    1,681
2006    1,603
2007    1,635
2008    1,874
2009    1,858
2010    1,892

NB - It is impossible to tell from these figures how many of the businesses are Real Bread bakeries as the category covers all types of bakery.

Bakers

Official governmental statistics for the number of people employed as bakers in Britain are collected by the Office of National Statistics. These can be found in the Labour Force Survey employment status by occupation, which is published on a quarterly basis.

To take the second quarter (April to June) as an example, between 2001 and 2010, the total number of people employed as bakers varied between 21,000 and 36,000, standing at 26,000 by 2010.

NB - It is impossible to tell from these figures how many people are Real Bread bakers as the category '5432: Bakers flour confectioners' covers all types of baker. It should also be noted that the survey does not include self-employed bakers.

Annual expenditure

This map was published by a company called Beacon Dodsworth in May 2013 from the Living Cost and Food Survey, a dataset containing four years' worth of of household expenditure survey data from around twenty five thousand respondents. 

It gives a visual representation of how much we spend area by area on products marketed as 'bread' in the UK...so not all what the Campaign would call Real Bread.

Other bready crumbs

We're often asked questions like 'how many Real Bread bakeries are there in the UK?' and 'what share of the market does Real Bread have?'  The truth is that we can't be certain. As noted above, the government does not collect these statistics and as a small charity, we do not have the funds to be able to commission an authoritative survey.

Here instead is information is taken from other sources.

NB - Though we strive to obtain information from reliable, authoritative sources, neither the Real Bread Campaign or Sustain can vouch for that sourced from third parties.

Bearing that in mind, according to...

The National Association of Master Bakers

  • There are about 4,500 small craft bakeries in the UK, each employing typically between 5 and 25 people
  • 350 medium sized bakeries - employing between 25 and 100 people
  • 150 large plant bakeries - employing more than 100 people

Source: www.masterbakers.co.uk

NB - This entry is undated and as there is no legal definition for 'craft bakery' it can be applied to national chains and supermarket in-store 'bakeries'

The Flour Advisory Bureau

  • 99% of households buy bread
  • The equivalent of nearly 12 million loaves are sold each day
  • Men eat bread more frequently than women: 44% of men eat bread twice a day compared with 25% of women
  • White bread accounts for 76% of the bread sold in the UK
  • Large bakeries, which produce wrapped and sliced bread, account for 80% of UK bread production
  • In store bakeries produce about 17% of bread
  • The remainder is made by high street bakeries
  • Breadmaking flour accounts for just over 60% of UK flour production

Source: www.fabflour.co.uk

NB - The FAB's definition of 'bread' is not the same as that Campaign's: it includes products made with the use of artificial additives.

National Association of British and Irish Millers

  • Approximately 5.1 million tonnes of wheat was milled in 2011 by mills in the UK
  • UK mills produced approximately 4 million tonnes of flour in 2011
  • The breakdown of UK milled flour in 2010/11 was: 47.6% white bread making, 6.2% wholemeal breadmaking and 2% brown breadmaking, with the remainder being flour for cakes, biscuits etc.

Source: www.nabim.org.uk

NB - Though several smaller independent mills are members of NABIM, their figures '32 companies, operating a total of 56 mills' don't include all UK mills - many members of the Traditional Cornmillers Guild are notable by their absence.

The Worshipful Company of Bakers

  • The Worshipful Company of Bakers is the second oldest guild in London
  • The first record of the bakers' guild (the bolengarii) is in the Pipe Rolls of 1155

Source: www.bakers.co.uk

ICM

13% of British adults bake bread at home

(Online poll of 2038 people aged 18+, conducted 16 – 17 May 2012 for May Gurney.)