It makes sense thinly sliced bread has about half the calories of thickly sliced bread, making it a natural step towards weight loss. Now, leading bakeries around the world are taking advantage of global health trends and diet fads and are launching low-calorie sandwich thins.
Editor’s note: Overseas, in grocery and supermarket sectors, sandwich thins are getting a reputation as being the new ‘skinny’ bread on the block. This product can be topped, filled or toasted with whatever ingredients take a consumer’s fancy. They offer a quick and tasty snack for anytime of the day, so who is launching the most popular 100-calorie-or-less bread alternatives and what marketing claims are getting them over the line?
In the UK, leading bakeries are betting on the thin category. Warburton’s, the largest bakery brand in the UK, is investing £20 million [AUD$3.8 million] in a new production plant stating, “We recognise consumer needs and tastes are changing”.
While traditional white and brown sliced breads are still its best selling products, the company notes lifestyles and tastes are reflecting a growing awareness of what is, and what isn’t a healthy option.
Warburtons tempts the gluten-free dieter with Newburn Bakehouse Gluten Free & Wheat Free 4 Sliced White Sandwich Thins. The company’s more traditional offerings include Half & Half Sandwich Thins (50 per cent wholegrain and 50 per cent white flour), Brown Sandwich Thins, Seeded Sandwich Thins, and White Sliced Sandwich Thins.
In the supermarket category, Sandwich Thins are set to thrive. Bimbo Bakeries secured a Weight Watchers endorsement and a registered trademark in 2012 for Sandwich Thins produced under the Arnold, Brownberry and Oroweat brands. In the years since, the company has expanded the concept globally. Bimbo Wholegrain Sandwich Thins arrived in Portugal in September 2013. Argentina recently saw the launch of Bimbo Thin Sliced Bread.
Success in Brazil is a priority of Grupo Bimbo. In a 2013 earnings call, they declared new product development will drive revenue. This is evident in Nutrella Slim, the company’s newest offering.
In the US, seven breads using the thin descriptor launched in 2014. Twenty new products were introduced in the prior year. Yet the decrease in new products doesn’t indicate the thin slice category is dwindling. Bimbo’s R&D isn’t through creating new products. There’s a new player – organic bread producer, Dave’s Killer Bread. UK companies, Warburtons and Kingsmill are making sizable investments and competing head-to-head with new products.
Oroweat 8 Grain Pocket Thins hit the US shelves last October. With 100 calories per pocket, it also claims an excellent source of fibre. Each pocket contains 10g whole grain.
“This soft pita-style flatbread is a great way to switch things up,” the brand said. Indeed, variety has saved many a dieter from boredom. To this end, this Bimbo company also gives us Italian Herb Pocket Thin. Sister company, Arnold, adds Honey Wheat Sandwich Thins Rolls to the range. Flax & Fibre, 100 per cent Whole Wheat, Multi-Grain and Everything (seven types of grains) round out the line.
Dave’s Killer Bread ensures taste and nutrition aren’t sacrificed in the quest to lose weight. The brand is slowly expanding its reach across the US with the help of their loyal fans who have made it the number one best-selling organic bread in the US. It packs in protein and fibre by way of whole grains and pumps up texture with nuts and seeds. It also offers several varieties of Thin-Sliced Organic Bread.
Good Seed Thin-Sliced has 70 calories per slice, 4g protein, 3g fibre and 360mg omega-3. Blues Bread Thin-Sliced has a crunchy organic blue cornmeal crust with 90 calories per slice, 3g protein, 3g fibre, and 270mg omega-3 100 per cent Whole Wheat Thin-Sliced is a seedless bread that has 2g protein, 2g fibre and 50mg omega-3. New Powerseed Thin-Sliced is sweetened only with organic fruit juice.
Irish breads are typically hearty. Johnston Mooney and Obrien cut calories with their new Sandwich Thins, said to fill the gap between health and satisfaction.
“They are ideal for people leading an active lifestyle as protein and good carbohydrates help repair and recover muscles after exercise,” the brand said.
There are three types in the range: Goodness of Both (soft and smooth wholemeal white bread), Chia & Sesame Seed (light white sandwich thins topped with a mix of crunchy chia seeds, sesame seeds and brown linseeds) and Multiseed (light brown sandwich thins topped with a mix of crunchy malted wheat, sunflower seeds, brown linseed, millet, wheat flakes, rye flakes, barley flakes and oat flakes. Each thin (35 to 40 g) has 1.6g to 2.9g fibre and 3.3g to 4.2g protein.
Slimsters are the brainchild of Irish Pride. The lighter bite has only 61 calories per slice, with Irish Pride claiming, unlike other low calorie breads, “this loaf offers you a full size slice so you can get maximum enjoyment and satisfaction from your lunch.”
Swedish company, Fazer, said to the consumer: “Use your brain – eat carbohydrates. Carbs are not only ok to eat, we need carbohydrates to function. No matter what form they are in, they give us energy.”
Regardless, bakers around the world have faced the whims of the fickle consumer. Some are afraid of extra calories. Some fear gluten. Others shun carbohydrates. Sandwich Thins appeals to all of these dietary concerns and should be in the Australian baking sector’s peripheral vision at the very least.