BREAD IS BACK ON THE MENU

The UK’s appetite for bread is on the rise – as Waitrose & Partners is seeing a resurgence in sales of bread.

Searches for sourdough have increased by 65% in January, compared to last year on Waitrose.com and sales of the bread have risen by over 30% over the last three years, reflecting a renewed love for loaves.

Speciality loaves, such as those made with linseed, mixed grains and seeds are filling shoppers baskets too, with sales up 22% over the last three months.

However, it’s not just sourdough and speciality bread seeing a spike in sales and searches. Online shoppers are seeking out an assortment of other bread, with searches for white loaves on Waitrose.com up 20% and unsliced loaf searches soaring by 450% versus the previous year. Even the classic sliced loaf is proving popular once again, with a 14% increase in customer searches.

Bread had lost favour with shoppers a few years ago, with the advent of new diets and low-carb manuals reigning the book charts. But now bread is moving back to the mainstream, with sourdough leading the way.

It’s no wonder sourdough is becoming the new staple for sarnies too. The fermented loaf has a distinct tanginess that perfectly suits our changing taste buds, with its bitter notes an acquired flavour that’s grown in popularity over recent months.

“Our customers are re-discovering the beauty of bread, but are looking for great quality, traditional and speciality loaves in particular. Burnt bread is certainly something we’re seeing a trend for, going hand in hand with the increase in popularity for sourdough,” said Zoe Simons, Senior Innovation Chef at Waitrose & Partners.

“Our Waitrose & Partners No.1 sourdough loaves have a deep golden colour thanks to their longer baked, caramelised crusts, in a nod to the trend for bitter flavours. Our sourdough loaves are handcrafted and use a traditional sourdough starter – a live fermented mixture – and the recipe is simply wheat flour, water, rye flour, salt, wholemeal wheat flour and nothing else.”

Gut health is a key interest for Waitrose & Partners customers and, being a useful source of fibre, a diet that includes sourdough can support a healthy and balanced digestive system – which is just one of the many reasons for its appeal.

Waitrose & Partners No.1 Sourdough, £2, is lovingly handcrafted by Celtic Bakers in North London exclusively for the supermarket, and is currently featured in the ‘You Can Taste When It’s Waitrose & Partners’ marketing campaign.