What Can the American National Bread Month Teach Us

Globalization brings standardization that sometimes comes at a cost to national or local authenticity. But, at other times, many times – I would say, it is about learning from each other, about trying to reach higher standards that others have already enforced, and about co-opting and getting inspired by their ideas. 

Some good years into monitoring the global bakery and food markets, one of the most fascinating themes I found to be celebrating one type of food for a day, a week or a month. Case in point, November is national bread day in the U.S. Because it is such a staple food, Americans have dedicated a whole month to celebrating bread. 

During this period, every related company, association and artisan or wholesale baker are using the opportunity put the spotlight on bread in their narrative. They are speaking about anything from innovations and traditions, consumer behaviors and history, to their latest products and news or promotions. 

As they have done in the latest years, the American Bakers Association, in partnership with the Grain Foods Foundation (GFF), is once again providing all their members with inpirational social media messages and ideas to share. They have to download the social media toolkit and to use the message directly or as a source of inspiration. Everyone is invited to be part of the discussion by using the hashtags #BreadMonth #GetGrains #AmericanBakers and by using the official Bread Month logo and email signature. For example, the 2018 campaign garnered one million impressions and a reach of 417,000 viewers?/readers?/targeted consumers? in the cross-industry effort, which underlined the health benefits of grain-based foods, ABA said. 

In Kansas, one of the biggest wheat producers in the U.S, the National Bread Month is a big occasion. The Kansas Wheat Commission says that one bushel of Kansas wheat can produce 90 loaves of whole-wheat bread. “In 2019, one acre could feed a family of three for more than 14 years! Or that same acre could feed 15,600 people for one day. In fact, the entirety of the 2019 Kansas wheat harvest could produce over 30 billion loaves of bread, which would feed the entire world population for almost 10 days,” the commission wrote. 

On the other hand, other organizations joined the ABA’s initiative to promote bread this month; to name a few – the National Festival of Breads, which organizes the event each year, the Home Baking Association, a website with valuable resource for educators, parents, community service volunteers, scratch-bakers and anyone else interested in baking, and the Wheat Foods Council, which includes grain producers, millers and bakers, baking suppliers, and life science companies. They all work to promote bread in its celebrating month. 

I used the American National Bread Month as an example of a great campaign. Of course, there are many other celebrations around bread in other parts of the world – such as the Real Bread Week, World Bread Day in October, or the International Flour Day; but, what I really appreciated about the American Bread Month was the solidarity to promote the bread in the country, not just a brand or not even a type of bread. I would say that other parts of the world, including Europe, through their associations, could be inspired by this type of promotion and bring such activities to the Old Continent for the benefit of both producers and consumers. 

Some anthropologists claim that bread made us humans. Such campaigns just remind us about it!  

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