Backlash returns Brownberry bread

HORSHAM, Pa., June 5 (UPI) -- A U.S. Midwest consumer revolt is returning the original recipe of an Arnold Foods Co. wheat bread brand to supermarket shelves, the company says.

Arnold -- which replaced its Brownberry Natural Wheat bread with a softer, sweeter version in April -- will bring back the original Monday, said the company, a division of George Weston Bakeries Inc.


Its Horsham, Pa., headquarters received so many angry phone calls the company hired temps to answer phones, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Angry blogs flooded the Internet. Deliverymen were severely scolded. Grocery store managers were harangued in the aisles.

The plant manager at the Oconomowoc, Wis., bakery where the bread has been made since 1946 was accosted as he walked to his car after work, the newspaper said.

Customers said they were "devastated" and "heartbroken" by the new loaf, which cost 20 cents more for 4 ounces less.

"We were all shocked and felt horrible that we had done this to these loyal consumers," bread innovation Director Jennifer Hartley told the newspaper.

Blind taste tests among the general population in January suggested the original recipe was "too firm and too bitter," Hartley said.


But like Coca-Cola Co. after its 1985 decision to replace its flagship soft drink with a sweeter formulation, Arnold realized it had a marketing disaster.

The new bread bags will say, "Back by Request -- the original Brownberry recipe," Hareley said.

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