Warburtons is planning to launch a major new marketing drive based around the nutritional benefits of bread, which it said had been unjustifiably tagged as unhealthy.

The launchpad is a new report by the British Nutrition Foundation, funded by Britain’s biggest baking brand. To be published next month, the report claims consumers are missing out on protein and a range of important minerals as bread consumption in the UK has fallen to an average of just two to three slices per day.

Warburtons said it will publish an additional piece of “myth busting” research, and a further report on consumer attitudes to bread, later this autumn.

Despite falling consumption, BNF author Dr Aine O’Connor said bread still accounts for a fifth of all fibre intake, and more than 10% of our protein.

The report will also address concerns about bread’s contribution to salt intake. Warburtons said it is on track to meet the government’s Responsibility Deal targets to reduce salt levels in its products to 400mg of sodium per 100g by the end of this year.

“Bread consumption has fallen steadily over the past few decades,” said Dr O’Connor. “Eating bread can help consumers meet their daily requirements for many nutrients, including micronutrients such as zinc and calcium, for which there is evidence of low intake in some groups in the UK.”

“As the leading manufacturer in the sector we feel we have a responsibility to put right some misconceptions about bread’s nutritional content,” said Warburtons commercial director, Jason Uttley. “When you look at the facts, bread has a lot of positive nutritional value.”