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FEDIMA & AIBI Symposium 2018: Bread Promotion Activities in Europe

In the past years bread consumption has been steadily declining (in 17 EU countries from in average 67 kg in 2004 to 63 kg per capita in 2016)1. This can be attributed to many factors such as more critical consumers, lack of knowledge about the benefits of bread, negative media coverage, availability of alternative foods and others. Several ongoing initiatives aim to reverse the trend and promote bread consumption. With a purpose to provide a comprehensive overview of the different activities, on 18th April 2018 in Brussels, Fedima and AIBI co-organised a symposium titled “Bread Promotion Activities in Europe”. The event brought together over 50 partners in the bakery sector. It was a day dedicated to learning about the importance of bread, its promotion opportunities and sharing best practices.

While the wrap up focused on the key take away messages, participants agreed that a common approach within the entire bakery supply chain is the most effective in order to tackle all the challenges that the industry currently faces.

The event was opened by Johan Sanders (Fedima President), who explained the importance of the symposium and he pointed out that “we strongly believe that bread is a great food product that deserves more attention. Bread is nutritious, versatile and a traditional element of the diets across Europe.” Afterwards Joseph Street (AIBI President) introduced AIBI and some of the associations’ main activities in the field of bread promotion. He stated that “it has always been my belief that all bread, and I emphasize the word all, should be seen in a positive light.”

Both associations together with their members focus heavily on bread promotion. Furthermore, craft bakers, millers and bakery ingredient producers help as well to ensure a good image of bread. During the day participants were provided with several perspectives on bread in the diet as well as the challenges linked to bread consumption.

Prof. Dr. Fred Brouns (University of Maastricht) provided factual details related to concerns about bread and gluten in our daily diet, and also explained some of the popular concerns which have arisen that are not based on science. Nowadays, bread is “under attack”, incomplete information damages the image of bread and causes confusion among consumers.

In addition, specific EU policy to promote agricultural products and how it could benefit the bread sector, in particular, were addressed. Elodie Clerc, (EU Commission - DG Agriculture and Rural Development) presented the EU’s new Promotion Policy for Agricultural Products. Participants learned that in 2018, a total of EUR179 million is made available for promotion programmes selected for EU co-financing, via the EU Agricultural Promotion Programme.

One of those programmes that received funding is BreadForEurope a Belgian/Dutch project that was presented by Zsuzsan Proos (Dutch Bakery Center, Netherlands). This joint initiative is based on several pillars such as bread being a European heritage, as well as a product that is tasteful, delicious, nutritious and deeply anchored in our culture. She explained all the various outreach elements of the campaign as well as the initial process of applying for funding.

Among the rest of the speakers, Kathou Wagemans (Federation of Large Bakeries in Belgium) introduced the Belgian Bread & Health Institute. Its goals are to provide objective, scientifically proven information on bread and its impact on health and to promote bread as part of a healthy diet.

The next presenter was Jana Ramuš (Slovenian Chamber of Agriculture), who outlined the Slovenian initiative - Excellent Bakery Products and Bread Gold Awards. In this quality award the products are being scientifically judged by a team of experts over a certain period of time. This initiative stimulates the sector to ensure overall good quality.

In his presentation - How insects can sell bread, Martin Lundell (Association of Swedish bakers & confectioners) talked about the Bread the Future campaign in Sweden trying to promote bread as environmentally friendly through a disruptive viral campaign. A lot of attention was generated, especially on social media.

Stefan Cappelle & Martina Goernemann, concluded the panel by introducing their book: Sourdough: Four days to happiness. The book documents the authors’ travels to different destinations around the world to tell stories about people, bread and sourdough – it is available in English and German version.

The last part of the symposium was an interactive workshop during which participants had an opportunity to sit together with potential partners in the bakery supply chain to exchange views and ideas for the launch of promotion activities.

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1GIRA Consultancy & Research study commissioned for Bread‐Initiative.eu

 

Source: AIBI & FEDIMA 

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