Bakers Journal

Turning the Page

December 4, 2007
By Jane Ayer

We find ourselves suddenly wrapped up in the short and snowy days of December.

We find ourselves suddenly wrapped up in the short and snowy days of December.  As a child, these days seemed like the longest of the year. The last few days of school before the holidays stretched on endlessly and Christmas Eve, especially, just wouldn’t  end (assisted, of course, by the fact that I woke up at the crack of dawn and then couldn’t easily fall asleep that night). Those days were filled with magic and anticipation, along with a chance to reflect and ponder on what the past year had revealed and what the next year might offer.

For the baking industry, 2005 revealed itself as a kinder year than the one prior. The frenzy of Atkins at least left a pleasant aftertaste in the form of increased interest in the health benefits of whole grains and whole grain products.  Canada Bread, Westons, General Mills – name a company that makes baked goods and chances are it has a handful of new whole grain products up its sleeve or already out on display. And with obesity and an aging population issues that won’t diminish in size anytime soon, the industry is sure to respond with more healthy product options. St John’s-based bakery Auntie Crae’s is a prime example: the company, in partnership with Terra Nova Fisheries, just recently released a multi-grain bread abundant with omega-3  (read more about the omega-3 trend on page 15). The bakery makes and sells hundreds of loaves each day and is reportedly looking to introduce more products (i.e. a granola bar) enriched with the encapsulated and very healthy seal oil that carries the omega-3 fatty acids.  And in terms of whole grains and fibre, Stats Canada reports per capita consumption of dietary fibre in the form of oatmeal and rolled oats alone is up drastically from a few years ago. Surely those numbers must also be reflected in increased consumption of dietary fibre from other sources. Sure to help the whole grain cause is an updated version of Canada’s food guide. Due out in the spring of 2006, rumour has it the new guide will be very friendly to whole grain products. Stay tuned to future issues of the magazine for more details on just what the new food guide will look like.

While we’re on the topic of making healthier baked goods, the trans fats issue refuses to be ignored. And nor should it be.


Health Canada’s task force on the topic is set to offer recommendations on the issue by the end of the month, and although that may be delayed a bit longer, it is certain that sooner rather than later, government regulation on trans fat usage will become a reality. Turn to page 16 to read for yourself what some members of the baking industry are doing to face trans fats head-on. And with the new nutrition labelling requirements  now in effect for many bakeries and soon to come for many more (December 12, 2007), consumers will be reminded of the presence of trans fats in baked goods every time they read the product’s food label.

It has indeed been a tough few years for the industry. Unfortunately, not even the most gifted economic forecaster can really predict what the months ahead will bring. SARS, 9-11 and Mad Cow are all proof of the fact that the unexpected is to be expected. But the baking industry is full of tough cookies  (pun intended) – resourceful and creative women and men who know what they’re doing and who believe in what they’re doing, and who even get excited by the unforeseen challenges each day brings.  Just remember:  when you’re in the middle of a day that won’t seem to end – it will. And perhaps, just like Christmas Eve when I was a child, the endless day will make way for a new day rich with unexpected blessings and rewards.

Happy holidays.  See you in 2006.

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