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Use Your Loaf: The War Between Who Makes The Most Dough Out Of The Bread War

By Michelle Duffy     Mar 16, 2007 in Business
If only you could still pop out at buy a loaf of bread just like the good old days, because the war between pre-bagged bread and the uncut loaf has been rife, right under our noses
It's just not the same anymore. Gone are the days when you thought that if you bought a beautiful crusted, uncut loaf that it somehow had a superiority over the well stocked shelves supplying the pre-bagged squashed loaf, but you'd be surprised.
In the UK, there is a price war. In the majority of the supermarkets, the uncut, warm, wonderfully smelling loaf is around 79 pence, yet the slightly going stale pre bagged loaf is a whopping £1.40. Here, the Warburtons Seeded batch, has been found to be one for the most expensive.
What now appears to be the problem is that because there are a vast number of companies now making their own bread, there is now a huge market for competition.
"A number of people have launched new products," says Nick Townend, Category Manager for Bakery at Sainsbury's.
"There's been quite a lot of innovation and some of that has been in the premium end of the market, but if you look at our Sainsbury's brand sliced loaf, that is still at the moment cheaper than our in-store bakery equivalent.
So what about the extortionate price of the aforementioned Warbutons? As consumers, we would love to know why a simple loaf of bread could be now more expensive that it's counterparts. Yet, Jonathan Warburton, chairman of Warburtons bakery has been selling this seeded bread for over six years at a price that has always been over a pound.
"It completely blew out of the water any belief that the consumers would only buy bread if it was cheap and the reason it sold was down to the fact that it over-delivered on expectations," he says. So that's OK then. If the bread is fantastic, we would pay anything right? So what came of the bread boom of the last decade when some supermarkets went the other way and were selling a loaf of white bread for a s low as 7 pence?
These may have been the supermarkets own brand, but even now these prices seemed to have creeped up, making many loaves over a pound now.
So it is good news for the in store bakeries with their teasing freshly baked bread smells wafting over to entice us, all the leading supermarkets have to do is figure out a way to develop a long shelf life for the uncut loaf. Until then the pre bagged - lasting more than a week in some cases - will have the upper hand - meaning they can continue to charge as much as they like.
According to Sainbury's, one of the biggest UK supermarket chains, it just a question of freshness, and since pre-bagged prices have grown at an average of 27 pence per loaf in the last four years, it would seem that it's not just the dough that has risen.
More about Supermarket, Bread, Fresh