Sara Lee has launched a new bread category that it claims could help increase US whole grain consumption by billions of grams per year.
The company claims that its Soft & Smooth 100 percent whole wheat bread is the first 100 percent wheat bread that combines preferred taste and texture with nutrition.
"Once consumers discover they don't have to compromise on taste, texture, appearance or nutrition, they will move to Soft & Smooth 100 percent whole wheat, just as they did with Soft & Smooth made with whole grain white bread," said Bill Nictakis, president, Sara Lee Food & Beverage's US Fresh Bakery unit.
"Our goal is to educate consumers about 100 percent whole wheat breads and give them a tasty way for families to increase their whole grain consumption."
Enriched wheat breads - often made from enriched wheat flour and a small proportion of whole-wheat flour - are by far the most popular type of wheat bread sold in grocery stores. Of the 650 million traditional loaves of wheat bread baked in the United States in the last year, 477 million (or 73 percent) lack 100 percent whole grain nutrition, according to Information Resources data.
Sara Lee therefore claims that most Americans who buy enriched wheat bread mistakenly believe they are buying 100 percent wheat bread. In a recent survey commissioned by Sara Lee Food & Beverage, 73 percent of consumers incorrectly identified their bread as 100 percent whole wheat when it actually has similar nutritional make-up to traditional white bread.
Sara Lee claims that Soft & Smooth 100 percent whole wheat bread has 14 grams of whole grain per slice, no artificial colors or flavors and no trans fats.
"Sara Lee has a track record of success in introducing new products," saidPeter Reiner, vice president, Sara Lee brands, Sara Lee Food & Beverage.
"With the introduction of Soft & Smooth 100 percent whole wheat bread, we're poised to continue mainstreaming whole grain nutrition by offering great-tasting products that will please the whole family."
The US department of agriculture's MyPyramid food guidance system calls for Americans ages 9 or older to consume six to 11 servings of grain foods per day, such as bread, pasta and rice, and to make half of those servings whole-grain servings. Research has shown that Americans who consume at least three servings of whole-grain foods per day are generally healthier than those who don't.
Whole-grain consumption has been correlated with decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, some cancers and type-2 diabetes, and may aid in weight maintenance.
Sara Lee Food & Beverage is the North American retail food division of Sara Lee Corporation.