Bakery: Less Salt In Bread Starting From October 1st.
Since October 1st, 2023, the salt content has been reduced in France in all types of bread, from sliced bread to traditional baguettes and special breads. We will explain the reasons and the methods behind this measure, which may alter the taste of your favorite baguette.
Why this change?
According to the official recommendations of the WHO and the National Nutrition Health Program, the French should reduce their salt intake to a maximum of 5g per day, which is equivalent to a teaspoon.
Not only is it not easy to stick to this amount for seasoning dishes, but many everyday foods contain hidden salt. This is true of chips and appetizer biscuits, cheese and processed foods, but also bread. However, most French people consume bread every day, which has consequences for their health.
A diet that is too salty increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as strokes and heart attacks because this condiment raises blood pressure, which is the pressure exerted on the arteries. One in three French people is affected by high blood pressure.
In addition, pregnant women and the elderly are particularly at risk of kidney damage because our kidneys filter the salt we consume. Finally, this condiment promotes water retention and weight gain because it encourages us to eat larger quantities.
What is the impact of bread on salt consumption?
All bread contains salt and contributes to excessive consumption in France, averaging around 8g per day, instead of the recommended daily intake of 5g.
According to surveys, bread is an essential food for 87% of French people on a daily basis, and 50% of those surveyed say they cannot go without it during the day. This food alone represents 20% of our daily sodium intake.
That is why the Federation of Bakery Enterprises (FEB) has committed to a voluntary approach to reducing salt in its recipes. The industry has decided to take action to reduce the amount of salt in bread by approximately 10% by 2025.
What changed on October 1st?
Since October 1, 2023, the famous French baguette contains 1.4 g of salt per 100 g instead of 1.5. As for special breads, such as whole wheat bread and cereal bread, their salt content has been reduced to 1.3 g.
According to nutritionists, this is a step in the right direction but still too modest. A much larger reduction would be needed to meet the recommendations of the National Nutrition and Health Program.
Will bread become tasteless?
The difficulty for bakers is that salt is a flavor enhancer and a sudden decrease would not be accepted by consumers. They might find the breads too bland or even inedible! Just try bread without salt or unsalted crackers to realize the difference...
To avoid shocking the customers' palate, professionals in the bakery industry have decided to gradually reduce the amount of salt step by step. Another reduction is planned in two years, in October 2025.
To minimize the impact on the flavors consumers are accustomed to, bakers are also working on new recipes using active sourdough or yeast extract to preserve the good taste of bread.