José María Fernández del Vallado, the secretary general of CEOPPAN
The new bread quality standard, which entered into force on 1 July 2019, is the result of a proposal made by the Spanish Confederation of Bakery, Confectionery, Pastry and Like Products (Ceoppan) to the Ministry of Agriculture in July 2015, almost four years ago, due to the “irregular” situation we saw in the market. There was no consistency in how products were described. We were looking to achieve three objectives: to end irregularities in the market, enhance the quality of bread, and inform consumers as clearly and transparently as possible. The negotiation has been tough at times, and always complex. In the end, a fairly high percentage of our initial proposals have been taken up. Sadly, some things have not been entirely clarified. But, in short, we believe that it is a very important step forward in the recognition and regularisation of the sector.
What are the new developments?
- A clear definition of whole wheat bread is established and the use of the percentages of the different types of flour used is being extended to all types of bread, and not just whole wheat, as Ceoppan has desired from the beginning.
- A definition of sourdough is included, which until now did not exist.
- Artisanal bread is defined, although this definition will not be completed until there is a specific official credential for people to qualify as Artisanal Bakers.
- The definition of Common Bread has been significantly extended, so that the 4% super-reduced VAT rating is applied to most of our products, instead of the current 10%.
- A maximum limit on the percentage of salt in common bread is established, as of 1 April 2022.
The artisan baker will adapt easily
Ceoppan affiliates, in general, will not have to make major changes to adapt to the new regulations, since they are designed so that the denominations that exist in the market correspond to reality and prevent the label artisanal bread, whole grain or sourdough from being applied to just any old type of bread. And most of the traditional bakers and artisans that Ceoppan represents have been doing that correctly. So the changes artisan bakers will need to make will be minimal. Some will have to adapt more than others, especially in the larger cities. But, in general, the industrial bakeries and distributors will be the ones that will have to make the most changes.
The standard will have a positive effect on bread consumption
The implementation of this standard has put bread front and centre, and both bakers and bread have had a high profile in the media and on social networks in the past few years, which has caused many people to seriously consider what makes good bread. In that sense, if the sector continues to do things right, this will undoubtedly have a positive effect on bread consumption. We have to work to recover the "bread culture". In parallel, the European Union has approved a project to promote bread consumption in Spain, which will begin this autumn, with a budget of €1,000,000, of which Brussels is contributing €700,000. If we are not able to take advantage of all this so that more and better bread is consumed in Spain, we will have no cause to complain.