Pepperidge Farm Develops Double-Fiber Bread

Pepperidge Farm does its competitors one serving better, delivering a tasty whole-grain bread that might take some getting used to.

By Hollis Ashman, Jacqueline Beckley and Jennifer Vahalik, Consumer Understanding Editors

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Flour … water … yeast. With such a basic ingredient list one would expect to find only a couple of variations of bread. Instead, even the most run-of-the-mill supermarket has a bread aisle with an astonishing array of offerings from the softest, lightest whites, to the darkest, heartiest pumpernickels.

Flour … water … yeast … inulin? With the current focus on the healthfulness of whole grains, the trend toward high-fiber foods seems here to stay. The Institute of Medicine recommends 20-35g of fiber per day, but the average American only consumes 4-11g. Legumes, wheat bran and prunes top the list of fiber-rich foods, but let’s face it, how many people enthusiastically shout “prunes!” or “beans!” when asked what food they couldn’t live without.

Very often the answer is “bread.” And people eat a lot of bread. In fact, bread sales were just over $6 billion in 2007, a 2.7 percent increase over 2006. This increase was due to the introduction of breads with health benefits such as organic ingredients, higher protein and especially those with higher fiber.

But there is only so much fiber a traditional loaf of bread can hold before it collapses under its own weight. Additionally, more wheat equals more calories -- not a good way to go for people who are trying to cut the calories. Enter inulin, a naturally occurring polysaccharide from roots and rhizomes that contains only a third to a quarter of the energy density of other carbohydrates.

Add to the mix the issues with wheat pricing and supply, and the prospects of boosting the fiber content and lowering the amount of wheat needed to make bread become very attractive. Against this scenario, Campbell Soup Co. introduced Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain Bread - Double Fiber.

Understanding the marketplace

Some of the national or large regional bread-makers include Sara Lee, Pepperidge Farm, Interstate Bakeries, George Weston Bakeries, Flowers Foods and Wenner Bread Products.

In a goal to maintain market relevance, Pepperidge Farm (owned by Campbell Soup) has been capitalizing on wellness needs by bringing to market innovative food products that not only satisfy daily nutritional requirements but also have great taste. Pepperidge Farm recognizes the need for whole grains and also that many people instinctively prefer the taste of a whiter/lighter wheat taste. To bridge this gap, the unit came up with Pepperidge Farm Double Fiber Bread, which brings together taste and nutritional benefits not widely available in recent years.

Pepperidge Farm is using the concept of focused innovation combined with high-impact benefits (double fiber) to create a bread product that can meet the day-to-day needs of families and individuals looking for a food-based way to get more fiber in their diets.

Consumers say they are trying to eat healthier and that they care about food components such as fiber and whole wheat. However, when confronted with the taste trade-off of some whole wheat products, they opt for taste over nutrition. Pepperidge Farm Double Fiber Bread brings the opportunity of familiar sliced bread with added benefits that make it a less challenging trade-off for those who prefer a “white bread” taste.

According to our Crave It!, Healthy You!, and It!s Convenient consumer insights, there is no groundswell of support for the clever use of inulin. Consumers are looking for foods that taste great, are convenient and help them stay healthy. The message of needing more fiber in the diet has gotten out and those who feel they are really short on fiber -- and care -- at times feel they don’t have choices. Many of the sources of high fiber – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes -- require a period of adaptation. While that is going on right now within all age groups, many struggle to get the right mixture of tastiness and fiber.

A 2002 report from the Institute of Medicine suggests fiber intake in the diet a day should be around 25g for women 19-50 years of age and 38g for men 14-50 years of age. Putting that into perspective: To get that much from a popular brand of toasted whole grain oat cereal, men would need to eat 12.6 bowls (1260 calories) and women would need 8.3 bowls (830 calories). And this is a relatively low-calorie product. Getting one’s fiber does not leave a lot of room for other foods.

The key trends in fiber are taste and amount/quality.

  • Taste: Taste in bread is one of the reasons the French became known for their bread products. Once they figured out the magic of whiter/lighter flours and the wonders of fat and yeast, they were able to get people to love and crave bread.

The key for everyone who loves bread is “fresh from the oven.” Factors that drive up taste for consumers in bread categories are: fresh, warm, crusty, soft/chewy, crumbly and sweet – served hot out of the oven, spread with butter or a favorite spread, with the smells/look/taste of what one yearns for. Real ingredients are important and enjoying bread at home is what it is all about.

Pepperidge Farm is a brand that competes well relative to one’s favorite neighborhood bakery. Flatbreads are considered on trend by chefs, yet this is a type of bread that is more to the liking of the smallest mindset group, not the largest.

  • Healthiness: The consumer has gotten the message about fiber and health. Bread seems to be one of the sources. Vitamins and minerals are expected to be part of whole grain/wheat breads along with naturalness and an absence of artificial flavors and preservatives.

People do not react to soft and feathery textures of bread the way as they used to (during quantitative testing). However, there still is large rejection when the whole grains taste gritty or bitter, there is a strong wheat note or the loaf is too sweet due to the taste of certain dark breads.

Consumer interest is driven by descriptors such as natural, heart healthy, high protein, high fiber, low fat and low sodium and by recommendations from trusted health organizations. More functional factors that are either established or emerging are: calcium, folic acid and heart-healthy ingredients.

The consumer taste test

Pepperidge Farm Double Fiber Bread is available in 24-oz. loaves for $3.69. The packaging is in a clear bag, which allows shoppers to see the bread more easily and understand that the color is not completely dark. A statement about meeting the American Heart Assn. criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol provides more assurances of health.

Whole Grain is the name that is very prominent just below the brand and Double Fiber stands out. In a very small font below the double fiber statement are the words “Twice the fiber of regular 100 percent whole wheat bread.” On the package front are the statements “excellent source of fiber” and “smooth texture.” The back label tells the whole grain story but does not focus on double fiber.

The product was evaluated in a variety of ways – from toasting to sandwiches to slices with spreads. When tasted plain out of the package, the bread is slightly sweet with notes of sugar and molasses and was not dry, even with no spreads. The texture was a bit denser than regular wheat bread, but thought to be good.

Some of our tasters consume toast on a regular basis for breakfast. They found the slices broke apart more than their typical whole wheat bread, which tended to bend. As a sandwich, the differences from regular whole wheat bread were even less pronounced.

The sweetness from molasses gave the product some complexity and did not interfere with the foods that bread was eaten with. Those consumers who are of the “I really like white bread variety” found that when this bread was consumed for two meals in the same day, they noticed some abdominal discomfort. These same tasters are familiar with a high-fiber diet, but had not, to their knowledge, ever experienced the effect this product had on their digestive systems.

Reflecting on this observation, we understand this is probably not wholly unexpected. Inulin is not digested by the enzymes found in human gut, where normal starch is digested. All of the work is done by bacteria in the colon, which might release some carbon dioxide. In short, it made some of our tasters feel bloated and flatulent.

But two meals a day might be more than you need. One slice (100 calories, 1.5 oz.) provided 6g of fiber. A sandwich would give you 12 grams or 48 percent of your daily value. A few pieces of fruit, some vegetables and another whole grain side dish could get you to the recommended daily intake of fiber.

Does the product deliver?

Yes. The bread is tasty and not too wheaty and definitely fills you up. The quantity of fiber is great and could really help those who want fiber, don’t like a heavy wheat taste and need a simple product to work into their diet. For those not accustomed to such a fiber-packed punch, it would probably be good to suggest starting out with one or two slices before using more.

How to make the idea bigger: It would be great to see cobranding of this bread in frozen items, either those for children or the nutritious frozen consumer. Expanding the line to other items – bagels, English muffins, crackers and rolls -- seems like a natural.

Rating: Very Good
Market potential: Good. Delivering this level of fiber can be tough, but this bread definitely has figured out what people want and need.

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