Image from Evening Standard
Bread from Hovis, a major bakery in Britain, is now being made of 100% British wheat. It is great news for the 600 farmers who are growing it on their farms and great for the environment because previously they had imported and transported their wheat from Canada.
It's bad news for Canadian farmers, because that was $27M that had been spent buying the red wheat that was grown only in the Prairies. Now all of the Hovis bread will be made from almost all British ingredients.
Image from the Telegraph
Hovis is the first major baker to switch over to flour milled from 100% British wheat. They have spent the last five years working with British farmers in the wheat growing belt from the Yorkshire down to East Anglia and the south coast, where the climate is best suited to wheat growing.
Celebrities are getting involved in publicizing the changeover to British wheat. Alex James, formerly of Blur, has a farm, although he does admit that he "has no idea how many loaves of bread could be made from the wheat on his farm in Gloucestershire. I'm not a wheat expert. I'm a total novice. But I'm a happy farmer." He is supporting the campaign although not a grain of his wheat will be used in Hovis's loaves.
Erin O'Connor "created" a British Fashion Wheat sandwich for models to eat during that event. It was made from "Hovis 100% British Wheat Original Wheatgerm bread, avocado, smoked salmon and sun-blushed tomatoes and contains a great balance of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals."
Image from Food&Drink; Network
However, the Real Bread Campaign warns that we shouldn't get too carried away by the hype. Small, artisanal bread makers have been using all British ingredients for years, and their bread is less mass-produced. Many of their member can trace the provenance of their flour to the local mill where it was ground and their wheat to exactly where in the UK it was grown.
"Any shortening of the grain chain from seed to sandwich is great news, especially if purchasing from small, independent cereal farmers and millers is maintained over the long term. However, what must not get lost in the nationalistic hoo ha is the fact that the big bakers continue to use a cocktail of artificial additives and unlabelled processing aids in many of their loaves."