With so much talk about the importance of a healthy diet, John White, director of the Federation of Bakers, will seize any opportunity to spread the word about the nutritional benefits of the humble loaf.
He is working to maintain the profile of one of the staples of our diet in the wake of British Bread Month which ran from October 16.
“Bread is undervalued,” he says. “It is a very important food, but its nutritional density is not registering enough with consumers.”
White has acted as the bakery industry’s ambassador for the last three years. Before that he was deputy chief executive of the British Amusement Catering Trade Association for 10 years. He is also chairman of the Trade Association Forum, the representative body for several other associations.
He says his involvement with such organisations is the result of a conviction that they can positively affect entire industries.
“The best run trade associations are a pillar of good trade development,” he says.
White is waiting to evaluate the results of British Bread Month before implementing further marketing plans. However, he outlines his ideas: “We want to talk to retailers about merchandising and point of sale to differentiate between different bread sectors. And we need to do a lot of work on obesity to position bread as part of a balanced diet.”
People might think that his professional commitments hardly allow for any free time. But he says he lives a rich life outside work: “I have two daughters, aged six and four, who occupy an enormous amount of my time.
“If I can squeeze it in, I pay a visit to see Leyton Orient play. I’m an avid reader and I play the piano – badly.”
Fortunately, his skill as a pianist seems more than compensated for by his talent for promoting the image of the bakery industry.