I eat quite a lot of bread — being a student it is a quick, simple and easy snack in its many forms — so, quite depressingly really, I found this article on why bread these days just doesn’t taste the same as the bread of yesteryear quite an interesting read.
One of the main take home points is that supermarkets here in the UK are actually loosing money on their cheap bread and other foods, and therefore charging higher margins on other items. But it isn’t the unhealthy ready meals (for example) that get this surcharge, oh no:
Healthy foods, such as fruit and vegetables and wholemeal bread, tend to have the highest retail margins, whereas loss leaders are often the least healthy purchases – over-refined cereals, highly processed products full of salt, fat and sugar. So loss-leading drives a race to the bottom: it undercuts quality foods and distorts the market in favour of the cheapest and unhealthiest.
Not something I like to hear, especially as I tend to buy more of the more expensive variations, such as wholemeal bread. To hear that I am subsidising the cheap rubbish is something I’m not happy about.
Though it’s quite possible that the author has some form of bias against supermarkets or the large suppliers, and so distorts the picture towards the negative, I’m sure that there is some truth in the matter. In a race for ever cheaper food, something has to be sacrificed, and I suppose it’s obvious that quality is going to suffer.