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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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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