The freshness of shelf bread and use of preservatives for longer-lasting shelf life recently came to national attention after Australia’s largest bread manufacturer stated it would looks for new ways to increase its profits.
A report in BusinessDay stated that Goodman Fielder was considering cutting supply chain costs by reducing bread deliveries, perhaps to every second or third day.
Goodman Fielder spokesman, Ian Greenshields was reported saying that in Europe and North America the model was for bread to have a 10-day shelf life, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The company was exploring ways of extending the shelf life of bread in Australia using natural ingredients and packaging innovation. Preservatives would not be used, Ian said.
”There’s no way we’re going to change the taste, freshness or quality,” he said.
“Freshness is a statement of quality not a statement of time. Everyone knows how to check for freshness – you give it a squeeze.”
Brumby’s Bakery took aim at Goodman Fielder after the comments became national news. The bakery chain, owned by Retail Food Group (RFG), recently released a national consumer survey, Better Bread Report, and launched its Pure Bake bread range.
“It’s hard to imagine how this could be done without the use of artificial preservatives, emulsifiers and mould inhibitors,” RFG national operations manager Deane Priest said about Goodman Fielder’s strategic review, according to ausfoodnews.com.
“These ingredients have had minimal use in Australian baking and one of the main offenders – 282 a mould inhibitor – is rarely used.”
Southern Cross Baking Group president Brett Noy said the only way to increase shelf life was to increase the amount of preservatives, fat and emulsifiers in bread, the Brisbane Times reported.
“That’s a scary thought especially for people with young children,” he said.
Brett said preservative 282, the main additive in bread, has been known to affect behavioural issues in children.
“The way people can fight this is to buy from the local baker,” he said.
“You’ll get better taste, better nutrition and a better skilled workforce.”
Goodman Fielder said during its annual general meeting in November that it has slowed its earnings decline but admitted disposals will be necessary to stabilise the troubled company, according to just-food.com.
CEO and managing director Chris Delaney said the company, which saw profits fall last year, had “arrested [its] earning decline”.
A company-wide ‘strategic review’ is currently underway following August’s announcement of a full-year net loss of $166.7 million and debts of $955 million. Chris said the company had made an initial $40 million of cost savings, with a further $25 million to take place over the current fiscal year and $35m the year after.
Chris told investors that some of Goodman Fielder’s brands and operations have been labelled ‘non-core’ or put ‘under review’ and could be sold.