Marks and Spencer: Enriching bread with fibre and vitamin D

Date : 19 December 2016

Marks & Spencer has reformulated its bread products to increase positive nutrients, including fibre and vitamin D. The retailer started its work in response to reports from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition.

 

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition found that vitamin D intake is too low in the UK, that people should be decreasing the amount of sugar they eat and increase the amount of fibre. M&S kept this in mind when they set about reformulating their bread products to make them healthier.

THE CHALLENGE


M&S wanted to positively influence its consumers’ behaviour without forcing people to make a significant shift in eating habits or lifestyle. To achieve this the retailer decided to enrich loaves of bread and rolls with fibre and vitamin D.

THE ACTIONS TAKEN TO RESOLVE IT


M&S conducted customer research to understand what customers thought about bread being enriched with fibre and vitamin D and the best way to communicate with them about it. The research revealed that customers want to choose products that are right for their nutritional and lifestyle needs and that they found positive messages more motivating. Therefore, clear front of pack labelling for customers was a significant element of the project.

M&S designed a simple green arrow accompanied by ‘Natural source of vitamin D and fibre’ to communicate clearly to shoppers. Further information was also available on the back of packs for customers who wanted it.

The fibre challenge

M&S’ loaves of bread and rolls have been enriched with fibre so each has a minimum of 3g of fibre per 100g. At this level, M&S can communicate positive health benefits to its customers. The majority of M&S bread already had enough fibre due to the nature of the ingredients but some of the white-flour-based breads had to have extra fibre added to ensure the correct levels were met.

Launch of the new fibre and vitamin D enriched bread received great interest from the media and feedback from customers was very positive. Some people had concerns about having too much fibre in their diet but they were soon reassured by additional information. Sales of white and brown bread continue to respond positively.

Tackling vitamin D

To make its bread loaves and rolls, M&S uses an exclusive type of yeast that naturally produces vitamin D. So, the retailer’s first challenge was to identify the correct amount of yeast for the dough that would lead to the right level of vitamin D in the finished product.

M&S worked closely with the yeast supplier during trials to work out the right amount of yeast needed to achieve the correct levels of vitamin D.

M&S regularly monitored and analysed the yeast and vitamin D content, both during the process and after the launch of the products. This helped the retailer log and file a history of the content of its products which is useful for future work.

It was also important to work closely with the yeast supplier and other experts throughout the process to get advice and make.

THE OUTCOME


All M&S bread loaves and rolls are now a source of fibre and vitamin D. On average, fibre has increased by more than 1g per 100g.

This table highlights example fibre content of two M&S products, showing a significant increase in the amount of fibre.

Product Before After % increase
Supersoft White Bread 2.5 3.6 44%
6 White Burger Buns 2.5 4.3 77%

 

The reformulation activity took between nine and twelve months to complete. Despite the increase in fibre, the consistency of the dough was largely unaltered and the production flow in the manufacturing plant carried on as normal.

After a successful launch and continued positive response from customers and the media M&S has expanded the enriched breads recipe to all its sandwich bread and In Store Bakery breads, boosting the nation’s intake of fibre and vitamin D.

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