As standard loaves continue to lose ground in the UK to products including healthier bread and alternatives such as wraps and thins, the retailer is increasing the fiber content of all its bread – including standard white – to at least 3 g per 100 g.
M&S own label Supersoft White Bread previously had 2.5 g of fiber, for example, but from this month is being increased by 44% to 3.6 g.
New M&S loaves
M&S is also launching three new ‘healthy’ loaves this month:
Sprouted Grain Loaf (rrp £1.30/400g): A sliced wholemeal loaf made with malted wheat and sprouted barley and spelt. “Popular in the US, sprouted grains are easier to digest and are packed full of vitamins,” said M&S
Muesli Breakfast Loaf (rrp £1.30/400g): A wholemeal loaf with orange juice-soaked raisins, sunflower seeds, pineapple juice-soaked cranberries, coconut and jumbo oats
Oat, Barley & Honey Loaf (rrp £1.30/400g): This loaf, the first to launch under the retailer’s Active Health range, contains beta glucans that M&S could help lower cholesterol
'First for UK retailer'
The move – claimed to be a first for a UK retailer - comes eight months after M&S fortified all its bread with vitamin D, meaning two slices provided at least 15% of the recommended daily requirement.
“The days of the simple white loaf are numbered, we’re now adding fiber to all our bread to make a healthier bread for all the family,” said M&S product developer Jenny Galletly, adding that recent surveys had shown many of the UK population lacked fiber in their diets.
M&S plans on extending the added fiber and vitamin D to all its in-store bakery bread from this April.
Decline in standard bread
Major UK bread brands have also looked to combat the decline in sales of standard bread by launching healthier loaves.
These have included the Great White loaves and rolls launched under Allied Bakeries’ Kingsmill brand in 2013, which boast the same fiber content as wholemeal bread in a white product.
More recently, Hovis Ltd – created two years ago when Premier Foods split off its bread business as a joint venture with US company The Gores Group – has rolled out its Good Inside bread. The range, which includes sliced loaves and sandwich thins, offers benefits such as added fiber and omega 3 from flax seeds.
M&S is also launching three new loaves this month, including one inspired by the interest in sprouted grains seen in the US market, and another specifically targeted at breakfast (see box out).