Real Bread Campaign drills down on loaf mis-labelling

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

'Bread labelled or advertised as ‘wholemeal’ must contain 100% wholemeal flour' - Defra. Pic: Nastco stuartbur
'Bread labelled or advertised as ‘wholemeal’ must contain 100% wholemeal flour' - Defra. Pic: Nastco stuartbur

Related tags Real bread campaign Labelling Iceland wholemeal

Following a trading standards complaint by the UK watchdog, high street retailer Iceland has withdrawn its own-brand ‘50% white and wholemeal’ loaf from shelves.

Campaign coordinator Chris Young applauds the retailer’s move, but noted Iceland could have also circumvented the complaint by simply renaming the product.

“The law is clear on what you can and can’t name and market using the word wholemeal,”​ said Young.

The law

Section 6 of The Bread and Flour Regulations 1998 states, “There shall not be used in the labelling or advertising of bread, as part of the name of the bread, whether or not qualified by other words … the word 'wholemeal’ unless all the flour used as an ingredient in the preparation of the bread is wholemeal.”

The Regulations also require that “no person shall sell or advertise for sale any bread in contravention of this regulation,” ​highlights Young, adding governmental guidance published by Defra states “Bread labelled or advertised as ‘wholemeal’ must contain 100% wholemeal flour.”

Iceland was only one of the five companies the Campaign approached in June 2022 to voice its concern that the marketing of their ‘half and half’ products are allegedly causing consumer confusion.​ Others included bread manufacturers Hovis, Warburtons and Jackson’s of Yorkshire, and retailer Aldi, reported Young.

According to Young, the Campaign is following up on its complaints with the trading standards teams at Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council, Buckinghamshire & Surrey County Councils, Hull City Council and London Borough of Waltham Forest.

Full overhaul long overdue?

It is also continuing to lobby the government​ to review regulation of the words wholegrain and wholemeal as part of its wider Honest Crust Act work. In December, Defra advised the Campaign that it was “still considering the best course of action to address this issue.”

Added Young, “Evidently there’s an issue with the content, understanding and enforcement of current legislation, a full overhaul of which is long overdue.”

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