Document Type

Research Paper

Comments

This work was selected as an Outstanding Contribution to Undergraduate Scholarship and presented at the John Hazen White School of Arts & Sciences Annual Academic Symposium on May 2, 2013. Amanda Benson's work was nominated by Dr. Michael Fein.

Abstract

Over the last century bread has gone through cycles of acceptance and popularity in the United States. The pressure exerted on the American bread market by manufacturers’ advertising campaigns and various dietary trends has caused it to go through periods of acceptance and rejection. Before the industrialization of bread making, consumers held few negative views on bread and perceived it primarily as a form of sustenance. After its industrialization, the battle between the manufacturers and the neighborhood bakeries over consumers began. With manufacturers, such as Wonder Bread, trying to maximize profits and dominate the market, corporate leaders aimed to discourage consumers from purchasing from smaller bakeries.

Though industrial bread manufacturers came out on top, they too faced challenges as consumers began to disapprove of all bread, not just locally baked loaves. Carb Free diets and, most recently, Gluten free diets have influenced people to remove bread from their diets. With the drop in bakers’ profits, they had to come up with trends to drive consumers back to the staple. Whole wheat bread once thrown aside for white bread was welcomed back as a better and healthier choice to the processed packaged bread. Movements, such as Artisan Bread and Locally Made, help consumers return to neighborhood bakeries. With the shift back to traditional bread, Wonder Bread was forced to close, showing that consumers do value quality over cost. When looking at the big picture of bread it shows that no matter how many waves the staple food goes through it can stand the test of time.

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