Woolworths in-store baked bread to contain no additives

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 15th October 2012

In a first for Australian supermarkets, Woolworths has announced that over 70 lines of its in-store baked bread will be produced free from artificial colours, flavours, emulsifiers and preservatives to meet consumers needs for ‘more natural products.’

The Woolworths move comes at a time when a growing number of specialty bakery products of competitors are being imported or prepared off-site and are being delivered in par-baked format with preservatives. At the same time, several of Australia’s largest bread groups have reported difficulty in competing against in-store bakeries in supermarkets.

Leading packaged bread suppliers such as Goodman Fielder (with brands such as Buttercup and Helga’s) and George Weston Foods (with brands such as Tip Top and Burgen) have reporting difficult trading conditions.
The Woolworths announcement said that its new bread recipes will remove vegetable emulsifiers 471, 472 and 481, acidity regulator 297 and antioxidant 306 from the fresh bread that is baked in 560 Woolworths stores every day.

“There are few things better in life than freshly baked bread and at Woolworths, we’ve made our fresh bread even better.  Our customers have provided very clear feedback that they are concerned about additives in their food, so we have made our in-store baked bread free from these artificial additives,” said Alex Holt, Woolworths’ Head of Bakery.

“Parents are particularly concerned about the presence of artificial flavours, colours, emulsifiers and preservatives in the food they give their kids, so we are proud to be able to say that Woolies’ fresh baked bread is now free from these additives and reassure our consumers that they can feel good about purchasing it.”

In an independent study commissioned by Woolworths, Australian consumers reported that their preference for buying products without artificial colours, flavours or preservatives was more important to them than seeking out products that are free from trans-fats or products that are high in vitamins or antioxidants.

The removal of artificial colours, flavours, emulsifiers and preservatives from Woolworths in-store baked bread builds on previous salt-reduction efforts from their bread in 2011.

India ahead of Australia in no additive and preservative foods, Mintel reports

Meanwhile, in a separate report by Mintel, a leading market research company, it was reported that Indian food manufacturers are the leaders in the Asia Pacific region for new product claims containing ‘no additives and preservatives.’

The report shows that Indian food manufacturers ‘no additive and preservative’ claims account for 18 per cent of new product developments, ahead of Australia where claims are only reported to account for 15 per cent of new product developments.

Overall in the Asia Pacific region, Mintel reported that products carrying ‘no additives and preservatives’ claims have risen from 14% to 17% of total new food product launches, whilst in drink products it has increased from 13% to 15% in just three years.

Deepa Dsouza, Mintel Trend and Innovation Consultant for India, said that health claims were of growing importance for Indian consumers.

“Consumers are now much more aware about the ingredients in the food and drink products they choose and the benefits of choosing healthily. The primary driver for the increase in these claims in India is the consumer perception of added additives or preservatives in food being considered unsafe and concerns about food safety and long term toxicity of these chemicals on their future health,” Mr Dsouza said.