First they deceive, then they destroy. Not so long ago the supermarkets looked with envy at the thousands of independent bakers on the High St. The supermarkets, with their factory produced sliced wrapped loaves, had no chance of competing against bread which was freshly baked by a master baker who worked through the night to make the real thing. Then someone at head office had a bright idea. Why not create in-house bakeries to make fresh bread right there in the store? The accountants pointed out that this was a complete non-starter as it would mean employing skilled craftsmen to work unsocial hours. But what, said the bright spark, if we continue to make the bread in factories, but give the impression that we are making it on the premises? All we have to do, they said, is bring it in frozen, dress up some assistants as pretend bakers, and re-bake it in our own ovens.
This brilliant idea caught on. Soon they were all at it and soon thousands of independent bakeries up and down the country were forced out of business. The only ones who managed to survive were in places like here in Grange, where the supermarket hasn’t yet arrived.
This week, the sham bakeries have been exposed because of a proposed new rule, which will force the supermarkets to own up when bread has been re-heated from frozen. We had the ludicrous spectacle of one of their PR people saying that the proposed rule will harm the environment because the customer will throw away unused bread rather than freezing it if he has been made aware that it was previously frozen. Of course, what he is really frightened of is the possibility that the cusomer might not want to buy his rubbish in the first place if he is told the truth about how it is made. Then, perhaps, we might get some of our artisan bakers back.