*N.B. Following the release of the Facebook "2019 Topics & Trends Report", I had originally planned to write about my takeaways/learnings etc. on the future of digital... until I read about Bread 2.0. And it changed everything (including this blog!) -Chris
BREAD 1.0 - THE ORIGIN OF BREAD
So, what is bread? Basically, it’s a paste of flour and water, cooked over or surrounded by heat.
According to history, the earliest bread was made in or around 8000 BC in the Middle East, specifically Egypt. Grain was crushed and the bakers produced what we now commonly recognise in its closest form as chapatis (India) or tortillas (Mexico).
Throughout the world, in the following centuries, countries developed their own versions of bread. The Romans invented water-milling around 450 BC and as such, they took bread to what was subsequently regarded as an art form.
Interestingly, the richer Romans considered whiter bread as higher quality and more suited to the educated and wealthy. Likewise, in British medieval times, bread baking became quite the status symbol. The upper classes preferred fine, white loaves, while those of poorer status were left with the rye, bran and coarser breads.
Fast forward a few centuries; the addition of chemicals came into play in the 20th century. Bread became whiter, softer and lasted much longer. The flour was heavily processed but the government enforced the adding back of minerals and vitamins – the enrichment of the flour.
BREAD 2.0 - BREAD STRIKES BACK
Nowadays, however, bread has gotten a pretty bad rap. For years, many diets put the popular carb on forbidden lists. But the health-conscious tides may be turning.
Food start-ups are innovating bread with processes like “slow carb baking,” or slow natural fermenting, which creates breads with lower glycemic indexes (GI). In the process, they are also creating loaves with increased bioavailability of nutrients.
Findings from the Facebook IQ report state that in doing so, food start-ups are generally raising awareness that not all bread is bad - it’s the overly processed, sugar and preservative-laden varieties that have proven problematic for many diet plans. In turn, alternative flours have seen a rise in interest, as people have become more interested in spelt, rice flour, popular earlier this year, and even ancient grains, such as einkorn wheat. We also see interest in baking overall growing as, for example, conversation about crust is on the rise. (See Facebook's results, below)
The trend happens as people’s attitude towards nutrition and wellness becomes more evolved and sophisticated. In the face of dietary concerns, this is an example of a previously “unhealthy” food category being reinvented by rethinking the process, returning to natural and traditional techniques over mass production. —Lucie Greene, Global Director at The Innovation Group at J. Walter Thompson Intelligence
FOR THE LOVE OF BREAD...
A once simple product of just a few staple ingredients, got added to, and added to, and then some. In the span of our 10,000 year-long love affair with bread, humanity has flip-flopped back and forth on our love for the loaf. Today, thanks to the technological advances in baking, the trend shows that we have a renewed love for bread... and tomorrow, we’ll likely want to end the relationship in favour for Hummus 2.0.*
But, whatever your feelings towards bread may be today, the comforting carb will always be there for you. Warm fresh bread, right out of the oven…is like your ex, the ‘one that got away’. You can’t stop looking at it and you can’t stop thinking about it. Bread will forever remain on the wrong side of the tracks tempting and corrupting you.
Until next time,
(*As of writing this blog, Hummus 2.0 isn’t actually a thing... yet!)
For more findings from the Facebook Topics & Trends report, head over to Facebook IQ to read the full story.
Other interesting findings (non-bread related):
Ad spend continues to grow, particularly on a mobile, and Instagram generally thriving as a paid social platform.
People are voting with their wallets and are looking to respond to brands that reflect their values.
Green products and sustainability is becoming increasingly important and this reflects a new eco-consciousness across beauty, fashion and travel.