We spoke to Bakery Expert Pauline on the changes in our bread buying habits in these health conscious times.
The love of home baking was what finally lured stay-at-home mother Pauline Kilmartin out of her kitchen and into the bakery section of Flynn's SuperValu Banagher three years ago. "I was a stay-at-home mum for years but three years ago I decided to go back to work. I spotted a SuperValu ad and I thought that would be an ideal job for me, as I absolutely love baking" Pauline says.
"The high fibre breads are fantastic as most people do not include enough fibre in their diets and it is very important. With all the wholemeal and rye breads, there are so many healthy options to choose from"
A dab hand with the dough, Pauline was perfectly qualified for the job as she had always been the Kilmartin family pastry chef and baker, filling the house with the marvelous smell of freshly baked bread and cakes.
She has always loved cooking, especially baking, ever since she was young. "I have been baking for years and am constantly making all sorts of bread and cakes" she tells us, but says the rest of her family are more interested in devouring, rather than baking!
Working as the head of the SuperValu bakery section, Pauline has seen quite a radical change over the past decade, with the arrival of so many exotic breads in so many different varieties. "Back then almost everyone was buying white pans" Pauline states. She also describes how there are so many different types of bread such as the best selling wholemeal, the seeded breads and everything from baguettes to bagels.
Pauline has noted that customers these days are far more health conscious and also more discerning. People now ask about the ingredients used in the bread where as nobody raised such concerns before. "It’s not just how fresh the bread is, people also want to know about things like salt content" she explains.
The old white loaf may only get a small slice of the action these days, but the fall in demand there is easily compensated by the increasing popularity of the wide range of healthy high fibre breads. "The high fibre breads are fantastic as most people do not include enough fibre in their diets and it is very important. With all the wholemeal and rye breads, there are so many healthy options to choose from" she says.
The new kid on the bakery block is Spelt bread. "Spelt bread is really taking off now. People never asked for it before. However, the Spelt grain is very good for us as the body tolerates it better than any other grain”.
Nevertheless, despite all the talk about new trends and tastes, some old favourites still retain a big place in all our hearts. Tastes may change and fashions may come and go, but people always love a treat or a little reward. "People still love their cream cakes and buns and we sell a lot of those coming into the weekend. Obviously the kids love them too".
"Spelt bread is really taking off now. People never asked for it before. However, the Spelt grain is very good for us as the body tolerates it better than any other grain”
While tough economic times mean people have to watch the purse strings, a careful shopper still has the chance to have their cake and eat it too. "We do notice now that people are watching their purses a lot more than before, but we always have great deals on. At the moment you can get three scones, a wholemeal loaf and a lantern loaf, all for a euro each" Pauline says the scones literally fly off the shelf, often selling out within a couple of hours.
She sums up by offering a little bit of recession-busting advice that can also serve to enhance a good winter’s night meal. "I would advise customers not to waste anything. Use your leftovers for breadcrumbs and make great stuffing for hearty roast dinners this Winter".
This old favourite is the most common variety of bread. It is made from about 77% wheat flour and ingredients such as cereal or vegetable flours. Seeds or herbs can also be added.
This popular healthy variety is made from wholemeal flour. It contains close to 100% of all the components of the grain.
These are baked from a combination of flours, grains and seeds.
This bread contains or is rolled in kibbled, which means cracked, wheat grains.
This has a higher content of bran or other high fibre material.
This is made from a combination of rye flour and wheat flour. Dark rye bread contains a higher proportion of rye flour and rye meal than light rye.
Spelt bread is made from flour that is ground from spelt, which is a grain. Spelt has a mild nutty flavour and is high in protein but low in gluten.