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Major supermarkets accused of making ‘misleading’ freshly baked bread claims

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Complaints have been made about five major supermarkets to trading standards bodies about ‘misleading’ claims on ‘freshly-baked’ bread packaging.

The Real Bread Campaign, run by Sustain, has submitted a trading standard complaint over how Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Co-op, and Tesco are marketing their bakery products, The Guardian reported.

Campaigners said Sainsbury’s bakery section products advertise claims such as “freshly made every day” and “freshly baked bread”, however it is understood the grocer is moving to rebaking bread made in other locations.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s told the publication it had reviewed its “bakery services and recipes earlier this year” in a bid to ensure “good food affordable for everyone”.

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They added: “More of our stores now bake pre-prepared dough in-store, as it allows us to offer customers the best quality in-store bakery products at great value. Our bakery items are also clearly labelled in line with legislation and trading standards.”

Lidl was also challenged over its use of “our fresh in-store bakery” and “baked for you throughout the day,”  despite the supermarket only putting pre-made products in the oven to achieve a brown, crispier look.

Likewise, the group has also accused Co-op of mislabelling and misleading over its “freshly prepared”, “sourdough” baguette, which the campaign said was first baked and manufactured by a third party.

A Co-op spokesperson said: “We pride ourselves on offering an affordable and great quality in-store bakery range for our member owners and customers – including our much-loved Irresistible sourdough baguette which is freshly prepared and baked by trained colleagues across our stores every day.”

The campaign also earlier accused Tesco of making claims such as “expertly baked in store since 1968”, “baking fresh from our ovens every day” and “freshly baked throughout the day” appear on packaging, store displays and its website, even in stores where this is not the case.

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This includes stores where no bread is freshly baked from scratch on-site, stores where baking expertise is not required and stores that did not exist in 1968.

Real bread campaign co-ordinator Chris Young said at time: “Over a number of years, Tesco has been shutting down in-store bakeries and making skilled baker roles redundant, replacing fresh bread making with staff members loading pre-made products into loaf tanning salons.

“We’re saddened by the company’s audacity in telling shoppers that things are being expertly, freshly baked and amazed that they’ve been allowed to continue making such claims.”

A spokesperson for Tesco responded: “In some stores where we don’t have the space to bake everything from scratch, we work closely with our bakery suppliers who prepare dough for us that trained colleagues bake every day in store.

“The signage we use in each individual store reflects the different ways we prepare bread, and our approach has been agreed with our Trading Standards Primary Authority.”

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Tesco also pointed out that while the supermarket giant had over 400 large stores which contain bakeries where products are made from scratch, and can be described as ‘fresh’ or ‘freshly baked’.

They added that they did not use terminology such as “fresh’ or ‘freshly baked’ on products made from frozen or part-baked dough.

Lidl were contacted for comment.

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