Bread... What is going on!
Oroweat has been a favorite for decades. My big love was Wheatberry, then when its price started pushing four bucks a loaf a decade or so ago, they just gave up and stopped making it. I grieved. I haven't had a decent liverwurst sandwich since then. But I took consolation in Oroweat OatNut bread. It has been my "go-to" bread for years. There have always been a couple of loaves in the freezer just for back up.
But now it seems to be going the way of Wheatberry, but not as clean a demise. What used to be grand firm textured wheat bread with generous distributions of oats and nuts throughout has become, as of my most recent purchase, a marshmallowy "Wonder Bread" gummy mess with a large reduction in quantity of oats and nuts!
I'm left scratching my head... Is someone counterfeiting Oroweat OatNut and slipping it onto my grocer's shelves? Or has Oroweat, now part of the Bimbo conglomerate, just decided, in that recent American tradition, to just reduce quality instead of adjusting their product cost?
If that's the case, and I suspect it is, I strongly object! It takes away my option to pay more and retain the quality I enjoy. It dumps poorer quality on me with the contempt of thinking I'm too dumb to notice.
I am sooooooo sick of manufacturers messing with my life by repackaging 8 ounce cans of tuna into 5 ounces, thereby ruining a bunch of recipes. I'm sick of "quarts" of ice cream that now only contain 3.5 cups instead of 4. YES! Inflation is real and has momentum so its unlikely to fade anytime soon, but it seems to me that manufacturers who play these price-versus-quality games are simply compounding the issue.
So here's my response:
"Hey, bimbo (no cap by design), I want my OatNut bread back! NOW!!!"
Do you think anyone is listening? (sigh)
Not being American, I couldnt comment on whether something is an American tradition.
But, knowing how price sensitive the grocery market is - and ever more so these days - then it comes as no surprise that a producer/retailer/whatever downsizes or reduces quality rather than increase prices. It is not just a feature of American grocery sales but, certainly, an issue in the developed countries of the northern hemisphere. The large national and multinational companies have been at it for years. You mention Bimbo. I'm familiar with Bimbo bread in Spain . Awful bread. Truly awful. One of the most appropriately named companies, IMO.
No. I think they are listening about as intently as Brooks Brothers listens to people who want 3 button sack suits or Williams Sonoma listens to people who want 3mm tin lined copper or Snows listens to people who like clam chowder. Some day they will wake up and realize they lost their base of devotees. That day is called filing under Chapter 7. Too bad.
BTW, I am eating homemade WW bread right now that I threw together during the ads while watching a football game, not a bad alternative.
No, they do not care. There will be thousands of new buyers to replace you who won't know the difference. I always get bombarded when I say this, but buy a bread machine if you're short on time and make your own. I make everything in my kitchen from scratch except bread. We are at 6,700 feet elevation and I have an Aga range. Baking bread here was the hardest thing in the world for me until I got a bread machine. I don't know how it knows our elevation, but I use a standard recipe from the bread book and it works like a charm. I use whey or veg broth for the liquid, sesame seeds, flax seeds, turmeric, chilis, anything I feel like seasoning it with and it is fabulous. Something to consider.
Sadly, I gave up on the Oroweat Health Nut bread for the same reason. "Nut" is in the name, for heaven sake, but they became sparser and sparser.
I've got some of my own sourdough base fermenting now. I just gave up on most store breads.