Superloaf is the first ‘alt-carb’ staple food from food-as-medicine startup Oxford Food Tech, formed with a mission to make a positive impact on one billion diets by 2028.
With 'diabestity' joining climate change as one of humanity’s greatest challenges, the arrival of the loaf opens a brand new approach to the chronic nutrition problem across the globe – increasingly linked to the explosion of ultra-processed foods (UPFs), which now represent over 50% of the UK’s calorie intake.
The NPD is the result of six years of government-backed scientific research and offers hope for a new era in nutrition and health via carb-based processed staple foods.
The vision came following a cofounder’s epiphany in a chemo ward, so uniquely, it takes cellular-level human biology as its starting point.
Melissa Sharp was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer at 36 years-of-age.
“Our vision to take on the western world’s staple food and turn it into what we call an ‘NHS-positive food’ started in a chemo-ward. During one of my chemo sessions, a refreshments trolley was wheeled in. It looked like something out of a 1960s Carry On film, except what was on it wasn’t remotely funny. I was just learning the connection between sugar and cancer, and seeing a trolley stacked with chocolate bars, fizzy drinks and snacks forever changed my world in an instant.”
Sharp and cofounder Leo Campbell then founded Modern Baker, which produces Superloaf, and later, Oxford Food Tech for its science and IP.
“A big breakthrough was funding from the UK government agency Innovate UK, allowing us to work with leading scientists and academics. Five successive grants and 6-years of R&D later, Superloaf was born.”
The clean label sliced loaf specifically targets digestive and gut health, while offering unique immune support and Omega-3 health benefits.
It demonstrates that carb-based UPFs can be re-engineered to become a vehicle for positive nutrition – combining the economic and format advantages of being made at scale, while being packed with better nutrition, principally via selected prebiotic plant fibres and bioactive plant compounds.
Superloaf’s unique ingredient formulation is further optimised by targeted fermentation to amplify a host of nutritional benefits including soluble fibre levels, bioavailability, glycaemic impact, shelf-life and bioactive polyphenol levels.
Furthermore, it has been adapted for mass production, resulting in a nutrient-dense loaf which is accessible in terms of both price and sensory factors – in particular, loaf volume and crumb softness – so it resembles the 8m sliced and wrapped loaves bought daily by bread-loving Brits, but with greater depth of flavour.
Added Campbell, “Good nutrition is medicine, and with the help of many leading scientists, significantly funded by the government, Superloaf has been specifically designed to be the first processed staple food with this as its core purpose. We want Superloaf to take a lead in food systems becoming the solution, rather than the problem.
“The demand for nutrition innovation among the major food retailers has been pretty much universal, much greater than we expected … given that a rapidly growing number of UK consumers actively want nutrition in bread to improve.”
The company forged a partnership with M&S in 2022 following media coverage of the beta-version of Superloaf.
“We are proud to have been key to the development of Superloaf and to now offer this innovative new product developed specifically to support gut health. We are sure our customers are going to love it,” said Alexander Vasis, senior bakery buyer at M&S.
The 400g sliced Superloaf is available in 400 M&S stores, as well as through Ocado, for an RRP of £2.30.