For the first time ever, wheat bread has outstripped
white bread in total sales. It's a significant shift in consumer
preferences, as Americans have long favored the whiter, less-nutritious
loaf. So what accounts for the change? According to Chicago
Tribune reporter Emily Bryson, it's all about product messaging:
Flooded with messages about heart health, fiber intake and the need for
omega-3s, more consumers are looking for bread that can taste good and
deliver nutrients... It's part of a major turning of the tide. Packaged
wheat bread recently surpassed white bread in dollar sales, according to
Nielsen Co. For the 52 weeks ended July 10, wheat bread sales increased
0.6 percent to $2.6 billion, while white bread sales declined 7 percent
to $2.5 billion. White bread is still ahead in volume, but the margin
is shrinking. Americans bought 1.5 billion packages of white bread in
the last year, a 3 percent decrease, and 1.3 billion packages of wheat
bread, a 5 percent increase.
Taking in the news, Carey Alexander
at The Consumerist is dumbfounded:
find it tough to believe. Back in our day, white bread was what you ate
to fight communists. Peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread? Please.
Now, consumers care about what is cheap and what is healthy.
Perhaps the Cold War really is over.
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jhudson at theatlantic dot com.
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