It’s long been a staple of the British diet – with leavened bread dating back many thousands of years – but are its days up? According to new research, one in two people in Yorkshire say they avoid eating bread because of an allergy, intolerance or ill effects after eating it.
In a survey conducted by Thomas the Baker to mark Real Bread Week (24th February – 4th March), one in six people in Yorkshire (16 per cent) say they think they’re allergic to bread – despite only an estimated 1-2% of UK adults suffering from a food allergy, according to Government figures.
A further 12 per cent believe they have an intolerance and 23 per cent say they’re not allergic, but often feel bloated after eating bread, so try to limit or avoid it in their diet. Only 27 per cent of people said they had no ill effects after eating bread.
Those aged 25-44 were most likely to think they had an intolerance or allergy to bread. Seventy one per cent of those aged 55-64 eat bread at least once a day, compared to just 31 per cent of the adult population as a whole.
But cutting bread out goes against the grain, with 39 per cent of people in the region admitting they love it, with more than one in four people (28 per cent) declaring bread their favourite food. In fact, 23 per cent revealed they eat bread with every meal. One in three (29 per cent) said they often felt ill effects after eating bread, but enjoyed it so much, they refused to give it up.
Thomas the Baker is urging people to give bread another chance this Real Bread Week. Its chain of 30 Yorkshire bakeries will be running tastings in store during the week of freshly baked white tin breads and Yorkshire batch breads, which are produced using a special process, unique in the UK, which helps aid its digestion – as well as improving taste.
Simon Thomas, Managing Director of Thomas the Baker, said: “Some two million people in the UK have a food allergy, and one in 100 people has coeliac disease. But beyond that, many people can suffer from varying side effects after eating some of the readily-available commercially made breads – which they may then interpret as an allergy or intolerance. It’s shocking that only one in four people feel like they have no reaction to standard bread. And with so many people saying they love bread, it seems such a shame so many have felt they had to cut it out of their diet.
“Our white tin breads and Yorkshire batch breads are made using the 48-hour ‘sponge and dough’ method, which to the best of our knowledge is unique to Thomas the Baker in the UK. It’s a very time-consuming method and requires careful control and monitoring and a lot of storage space for the dough, however this results in naturally better tasting bread and is widely regarded to be easier for digestion. Where possible, virtually all of our other breads are made using the 24-hour ‘sponge and dough’ method. Again, this is unusual in the British baking industry because of the time, cost and inconvenience involved, but we believe the difference is worth the wait. We want to give people the chance to try these breads – obviously they’re not suitable for those with diagnosed allergies and intolerances as they’re not gluten-free, but for those people who just don’t always feel brilliant after bread, we think they’ll really notice a difference. And they’re delicious!”
The fact bread is not top of the nation’s thoughts is even apparent in our choice of emojis. According to Emojitracker, which tracks realtime Twitter usage of the different emojis, the bread emoji isn’t even used as much as windchimes, mushrooms or an octopus. It’s four times less popular than other foodstuffs such as lollipops, French fries and doughnuts.
Simon continued: “We’re going to see if we can give the bread emoji a boost for Real Bread Week – surely our much-loved loaves, baps, barms, stotties, buns and bloomers deserve a bit more attention?! Hopefully we can rise to the challenge.”
To get a slice of the action, head to any Thomas the Baker store between 24th February and 4th March, where staff will be happy to provide a free sample for you to try.