Consumers turning back on white bread

Sept. 6, 2012 at 11:58 PM
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BOSTON, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. baby boomers were raised on white bread, but due to health concerns and some stigma, this bread is getting harder to find on store shelves, experts say.

Aaron Bobrow-Strain, a professor at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., and author of "White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf," said more than 100 years ago, U.S. bread was baked in local bakeries and then it became baked by large industrial bakeries.

"Americans still eat a lot of industrial bread -- 1.5 billion loaves of it in 2009 -- but there has been a marked cultural turn away from the stuff," Bobrow-Strain told The Boston Globe via an e-mail. "Some of that has to do with health consciousness, and a lot of it has to do with changing status consciousness."

White bread is "an icon of poverty and narrow choices in the age of yuppie foodie-ism," Bobrow-Strain added.

Health consideration might be why white bread is losing favor, but bakeries expanded and developed better tasting whole and multigrain breads.

However, Abe Faber, co-owner with Christy Timon of Clear Flour Bakery in Brookline, Mass., said during a recent trip, he shopped for some wheat bread.

"I read the ingredients label and I was shocked," Faber told the Globe. "Some included excess sugar, palm oil, soybean oil, as well as azodicarbonamide, a synthetic chemical used to manipulate bread dough the World Health Organization in 1999 linked to asthmatic symptoms, which is banned in the Britain, but legal in the United States."

Nutritionist Bridgette Collado advises consumers to look for bread with 100 percent whole-wheat flour or 100 percent whole-grain wheat and to check out the Web site, which gives U.S. Department of Agriculture recommendations and whole grain information.

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