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More Nutritious White Bread Could Be on Shelves, Thanks to Funding

Healthier white bread could soon appear on the shelves of bakers and grocers across the UK thanks to research at Aberystwyth University.

Partnering with the renowned organic millers Shipton Mill, the Aberystwyth team will investigate the milling and blending techniques used in the production of white flour. 

Funded by Innovate UK’s ‘Better Food For All’ initiative, this project aims to enhance the nutritional value of wheat flour by potentially incorporating UK-sourced peas, beans, and oats. 

This initiative is part of Innovate UK’s commitment to supporting 47 projects with a total investment of £17.4 million. These projects are focused on improving food quality, creating functional foods, enhancing nutrition, developing new proteins, and extending the shelf life of healthy and fresh foods.

“This project builds on our belief that variety and nature-friendliness is the way to measure the success of a crop, not speed and growth,” said Chris Holister from Shipton Mill. “In milling, our craft is to provide bakers with excellent and reliable results that work with nature and what the climate and seasonality can offer. We hope that this work can help make for a healthier and happier diet for very many people.

“With projects like this, we in the UK food industry have a chance to make a positive impact: creating innovative products and solutions that could both improve people’s health and create jobs in the sector.”

Aberystwyth University is a renowned center for the development of new oat, bean, and pea varieties, with 65 per cent of all oats in the UK grown from varieties developed there. 

Utilizing the state-of-the-art facilities at AberInnovation, the research project will benefit from the university’s expertise and resources.

“This is a very exciting opportunity to improve people’s diets, especially those who favour the look and sensory attributes of white bread,” Dr. Catherine Howarth, from IBERS at Aberystwyth University said. “The project underlines how our leading plant research here in Wales can make a difference to people’s lives. We hope this will be another chance to put our work, especially on beans, peas and oats, to very good use.”

Dr. Amanda Lloyd from the Department of Life Sciences at Aberystwyth University said that poor diet plays a major role in ill-health, chronic diseases and a significant portion of cancer cases. “Obesity rates are very high in the UK, with projected costs for the NHS at £9.7 billion by 2050 and society at nearly £50 billion annually. Using our expertise at the University, we hope that this project can play a role in tackling this growing issue of diet-related poor health and well-being.

“The project will also bring significant social and economic benefits to the UK and will further establish the UK as a leader in the flour and flour-based foods markets,” Lloyd added.

Dr Stella Peace, Executive Director for the Healthy Living and Agriculture Domain at Innovate UK, said:

“These projects showcase the extensive range and quality of innovation within the agri-food sector of the UK. With global challenges like food security, sustainability, and nutrition, creative solutions are needed to make a tangible impact.

“At Innovate UK, we are committed to driving transformational change in food production and manufacture to shape the future economy and society as a whole.”