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    PG Web Extra: What’s Next for Bread

    Grain-free may be the new frontier

    By Bridget Goldschmidt, EnsembleIQ
    Barely Bread

    Is it possible that the next emerging trend in commercial bread and baked goods, following the launch of gluten-free and other free-from products in the category, will be grain-free items? Barely Bread is betting on it.

    “We strongly believe that ‘grain-free’ will be the new ‘gluten-free,’” predicted Amanda Orso, founder of the New York-based company, which is introducing a line of 100 percent grain-free breads this summer, including two varieties of sliced loaves, two flavors of bagels, and savory rolls. The products are made using  a blend of almond, seed, and coconut flours instead of wheat, according to Barely Bread's website.

    “Although gluten-free products have taken hold of the industry in recent years, we believe that consumers are also becoming more savvy to the idea that gluten-free does not automatically equate to health or nutrition,” she went on to explain. “The growing popularity of the Paleo diet has also driven more consumers to [a grain-free] lifestyle. Additionally, an awareness of preservatives, the desire for ‘clean’ ingredients, and ‘food as a benefit’ have proven to be important qualifiers in consumers’ food-buying habits. We’ve also found that consuming high-quality fat is becoming … an important food trend. Social media alone is filled with hash tags such as #eatfatgetthin, #eatfatlosefat, highlighting the growing awareness of the importance of quality fat in our diets, not simply for weight loss, but for brain health, good skin and overall wellbeing.”

    Hearty but Light

    That all sounds commendable, but how does Barely Bread propose to win over consumers’ stomachs as well as their minds? “We are appealing to consumers’ current wants and needs by delivering on taste, nutrition and performance,” noted Orso. “We believe there are more consumers every day who are passing on the bread basket or skipping the bread aisle in their attempts to avoid or reduce their intake of grains, gluten, preservatives, excess carbs and sugars. We have created a delicious bread the whole family can enjoy, with ingredients found in the pantry – not a lab – and with a hearty but light structure that stands up to thick nut butters, wet condiments, toasting, grilling and dipping.”

    Although at presstime the product hadn’t hit store shelves yet, Orso asserted that “interest has grown in the past three years of development, as we’re finding, through research and direct interaction, that consumers are more interested in their health and are becoming more educated in the proper ways to fuel their bodies. Likewise, interest from retailers has escalated with the understanding that a growing number of consumers are following diets avoiding gluten and now grains.”

    Beyond merely avoiding certain ingredients, however, she points out that these health-conscious shoppers “are also looking for benefits in their food, such as fiber and protein.” To that end, Barely Bread’s “truly unique” product line “accommodate[s] almost any diet or lifestyle – grain-free, gluten-free, Paleo, carb-conscious, low-glycemic, preservative-free and minimally processed – while delivering protein, fiber, good-quality fat and taste,” contended Orso.

    To publicize the introduction of Barely Bread, the brand “will be launching a national social media strategy with targeted health-and-wellness ambassadors, as we launch online and roll out into stores,” said Orso, adding that a pre-launch Instagram post received almost 11,000 likes after a “wellness insider” received samples at a local New York City fitness event and posted her “avocado toast” on a Barely Bread bagel. “We are focused on, and also getting incredible feedback from, the fitness, food and fashion communities.”

    Along with the social media blitz, “we plan to heavily demo our product in retail stores, as we know that tasting is believing!” she continued. “Our very unique packaging was deliberately created to stand out in the freezer and refrigerated sections, where our bread line will be sold.”

    Following the big rollout, what’s ahead for what could very well be the next big thing in bread? “Development of snacks such as bagel chips and more, all of which follow the same pillars of taste, nutrition – grain-free and gluten-free, low-carb and low-glycemic, and high-fiber and high-protein – as well as performance, are underway,” promises Orso.

    By Bridget Goldschmidt, EnsembleIQ
    • About Bridget Goldschmidt In addition to serving as Progressive Grocer’s Managing Editor, Bridget writes many print and digital features encompassing a range of grocery and fresh categories across the store. Bridget also enjoys on-site reporting assignments at such key industry events as the New York Fancy Food Show and the International Boston Seafood Show, in addition to visiting stores for PG’s prestigious Store of the Month feature. In her years with the magazine, she has developed into a knowledgeable voice on grocery industry trends, sought by such distinguished publications as The New York Times.

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