Posted: 03/02/2016

Real Bread Campaign slams ASA ruling on Eat ‘sourdough’ toastie

Artisan sourdough bread
The Real Bread Campaign says only bread made with live culture and no commercial yeast should be called sourdough (image: Sabina Pensek/

An advert describing bread made with commercial bakers’ yeast as ‘sourdough’ has been given a green light by the Advertising Standards Agency despite complaints by the Real Bread Campaign.

The lobby group, which fights for “better bread in Britain”, said it was disappointed at the ASA’s decision not to take action against sandwich shop chain EAT over its Sourdough Toasties.

The Campaign argued this did not use genuine sourdough because the bread contained commercial yeast and was not made using the traditional, slower method.

However, the ASA ruled that there was no fixed legal definition of the term ‘sourdough bread’ in the UK, and it was satisfied the public was not being misled as the bread contained live bacterial starter culture in addition to commercial yeast.

It said consumers were unlikely to infer from the term that only traditional manufacturing methods, such as kneading entirely by hand, were used.

The Real Bread Campaign coordinator Chris Young called the ruling a “shambles” and said the online, and poster marketing was “intended to lead the average shopper to believe” the loaves were made by hand using only flour, water, rye and malt and a long, slow fermentation process.

In a letter to the ASA, he argued that the “average consumer” was likely to understand that ‘sourdough’ denoted a higher quality, premium product made by artisan bakers, and be prepared to pay more for it. This, it said, was “reason enough” for the ASA to prevent its misuse.

“We are deeply disappointed that the ASA has failed to protect shoppers in search of genuine sourdough bread from the possibility of being misled by an advert for a product made with added commercial yeast,” he said.

Although no action was taken, Eat volunteered to remove wording about the production of the bread from its website, including the terms ‘knead me, by hand’, ‘10 years of crafting a full flavour’, and ‘up up up rising for 6 hours’.

The Real Bread Campaign has coined the word ‘sourfaux’ for bread made using commercial yeasts.

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