Consumers becoming more savvy, health conscious: Q&A with Healthfull Bread’s director

By Hal Conick contact

- Last updated on GMT

"The size of the loaf for Healthfull bread is a little smaller, allowing each slice to contain 80 calories," Healthfull's director said.
"The size of the loaf for Healthfull bread is a little smaller, allowing each slice to contain 80 calories," Healthfull's director said.

Related tags: High-fructose corn syrup, Nutrition, Corn syrup

A savvier group of customers want healthier products with fewer preservatives and ingredients, a trend one bread executive says will continue for a long time.

Jim Morris, director of Arnold, Brownberry, Oroweat and now Healthfull - all owned by Bimbo Bakeries USA - told BakeryandSnacks that Healthfull, the newest line of bread from the companies, has three varieties all aimed at customers looking for a healthier bread product.

Healthfull Bread, available in Flax & Sunflower, Steel Cut Oats & Honey, and Nuts & Seeds variations, contains no high-fructose corn syrup or artificial colors or flavors.

“We did our homework by analyzing the trends in the food industry and conducting research to help identify the ingredients consumers want to see in their bread,”​ he said.

“From there, we recruited the expertise of our R&D team and came up with some very good tasting products that delivered on consumers’ needs.”

According to Mintel’s 2014 US Bread and Bread Products report​,​ the bread products market has seen slow growth.

This will continue into 2019, according to Mintel, as many consumers see bread as something that is too high in carbohydrates and calories.

healthfull

BakeryandSnacks spoke with Morris to see how Healthfull will fit into the modern market.

BAS: Is Healthfull similar or different from the other brands you work with?

Morris​: Healthfull bread is similar to some of the other items in our Whole Grains portfolio in that the focus is on nutritious, good-tasting bread. However, the size of the loaf for Healthfull bread is a little smaller, allowing each slice to contain 80 calories.

BAS: This brand was launched across all 50 states in April; what kind of response has it received so far from your customers? 

Morris:​ We have seen great response so far. We have data that shows once consumers try these breads, they make repeat and second repeat purchases. We’ve also seen excellent response via our social media channels.

BAS: There is no high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors/colors. Is this now the industry standard in bread? Should it be?

Morris:​ Simpler recipes are becoming very popular in the food industry. Our premium bread offerings do not contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors or artificial flavors. In addition, our Healthfull bread varieties do not contain any artificial preservatives.

BAS: Why do you think this trend of healthier bread has taken off? Do you see it continuing?

Morris:​ As consumers start focusing on health and wellness, they are looking for easy ways to get the nutrition they need. What easier way to get it than from foods they already eat? We know that sandwiches are popular. We also know, through published research by health experts, that whole grains and fiber should be a part of a healthy lifestyle. We keep that in mind as we develop new products and improve our existing ones. We plan on continuing to focus on ways to help consumers get the nutrition they need, by offering great-tasting, nutritious options.

BAS: Is the competition increasing in this space? Will it continue to?

Morris:​ Yes and yes. Consumers are becoming savvier about what goes into their food and beverage products. As consumers and regulatory agencies demand more transparency in food labeling, the industry will continue to innovate in this space. 

BAS: Does making this kind of healthier bread make it easier or more difficult to manufacture/process? 

Morris:​ Whenever you introduce unique ingredients and different sizes into a process, you create some complexity. However, our cross functional teams and bakeries are versatile enough to make the types of adjustments needed and integrate the production of these items into their existing processes.    

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