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Dec 21, 2013 12:23 PM

Why do bakeries that cater to white folks...

...Insist on making their wheat bread so damned sweet?

When I purchase sliced sandwich bread baked by one of the ethnic commercial bakeries like Stone Bread or Breadland, the wheat bread is rich and even slightly, pleasantly bitter but the stuff I get from TJ's or Whole Foods is like having dessert, which is disgusting when paired with tuna or pretty much any other savory sandwich filling.

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    1. TJ's and Whole Foods cater to "white folks"? Did you seriously just post that?

      8 Replies
      1. re: carolinadawg

        To be fair the OP said "caters to". But yeah, still pretty bad.

        1. re: foodieX2

          Sorry, edited my comment and made yours out of context.

          1. re: carolinadawg

            No worries. Either way it's a gross generalization on the part of the OP

            1. re: foodieX2

              Sorry for the gross generalization. I suppose you shop there with a blindfold on.

              1. re: JeMange

                Not at all. My local WF and TJs are in predominantly white areas but I still see plenty of non Caucasians. When I go visit my friends and family in another state I would the number of caucasians shopping there are less than half. The area around there is predominantly Asian, Indian and based on the language I would say South American/Brazilian.

                Regardless I see overly sweet bread offered in every commercial market I go to but luckily my local WF also offers some wonderful alternatives. They have wonderful sour ryes, nutty whole grain and 100% whole wheat which when toasted is perfect for tuna.

        2. re: carolinadawg

          What the person wrote is that those stores "cater to" white people. I haven't done a marketing survey, but based on the complexion of folks at the branches of those stores in my neighborhood, I don't think it's an unfair assessment.

          1. re: Jack Flash

            Edited my response to more accurately reflect what the OP said. And what he/she said is a gross generalization that is insulting to the stores and their shoppers. It also doesn't reflect the "complexion" of the shoppers I see in those stores where I live, especially TJ's.

            1. re: Jack Flash

              I don't know what your neighborhood demographics are, but the TJ's in my part of Brooklyn is a pretty close reflection of mine, and definitely isn't lily-white. Nor necessarily upper middle class; TJ's takes food stamps, and their combination of healthy products and good prices would appeal to anyone in the know, regardless of race or economic status.

              While I'm disagreeing, I like the whole wheat bread I get at TJ's, which doesn't strike me as "overly sweet." If
              JeMange thinks it is, then fair enough, tastes differ. But to make a racial issue of it is irrelevant and tendentious.

          2. would that also be your explanation why the whole wheat crust served at california pizza kitchen is "honey wheat" and is extremely sweet and is, imho, disgusting?

            personally, i am mystified why any baking operation should decide that folks of any ethnicity who want to buy whole grain products would want those products to be sweet.

            i prefer whole grain organic breads that are not sweet.

            18 Replies
            1. re: westsidegal

              And yet the sweeter breads are purchased by someone.

              1. re: wadejay26

                Westsidegal, I appreciate your feedback but I think you're looking at this a bit backwards.

                Any successful manufacturer knows its customer base - their general racial/ethnic makeup, their shopping habits and the other products they purchase and consume. This would imply that these products are designed to cater to that specific demo - hence my original post that wheat bread sold in stores with a predominantly caucasian customer base tends to be overly sweet.

                Obviously, if the targeted customer base didn't care for sweet wheat bread, both the manufacturers and retailers would be forced to either "pivot" and rethink their recipes or go out and find a customer base that liked the extant recipe, no?

                1. re: JeMange

                  in my area, La Brea Bakery makes a really terrific whole grain bread that is not sweet. La Brea Bakery has now found it's way into Ralph's, the large grocery chain.

                  Trader Joe's, and many of the other chains are COPYING the "artisanal" style of La Brea bakery. (yes, whole grain bread that is a COPY of La Brea bakery's product can be found at TJ's--it's the crusty stuff that is not sliced).

                  it certainly appears that the love of sweet bread (think Hawaiian bread or Portuguese bread) predated the interest in whole grain bread.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    At least in Washington, TJ is using one or more of the local 'artisanal' bakeries as supplier - with TJ paper bags. I recognize an overlap in styles.

                    1. re: paulj

                      The TJ we frequent in Bellingham has the most pathetic bakery section if you can call it that. It may be the smallest section of all their other products in the store :-(

                      For breads and things, we just skip across the road to Avenue Bread :-)


                      1. re: LotusRapper

                        You may be out of the delivery range for the Seattle bakeries.

                        I wouldn't describe the 'artisanal' section the at Lynnwood store as large. It's one wood book case with 3 or 4 shelves. I think they get the bread from Essential Baking. But their price is a dollar or two lower.

                    2. re: JeMange

                      Yo I eat, maybe should learn to bake bread if you do not already know how. Maybe that would solve your problem.

                      1. re: JeMange

                        What about stores in predominantly Black, Asian or Hispanic populations?
                        Is the Wheat bread at Mi Pueblo, Ranch 99 or a Safeway in a African American Neighborhood a different formulation?

                        1. re: chefj

                          A provocative question without an answer. What are you fishing for?
                          I know that the Heinz ketchup facility in Canada that is shutting down, used a sweeter ketchup formulation because Canadians prefer sweeter ketchup.
                          So what?

                          1. re: Veggo

                            Any link confirming that info? (the sweeter ketchup, not the shutdown)

                            1. re: NanaMoussecurry

                              No link. I read a lot, and I remember a lot of what I read.

                              1. re: Veggo

                                ...not to mention hearing, touching, experiencing, living. Not everything has to be cut and pasted from a link.

                                1. re: acssss

                                  I understand you. We all must prioritize our fingers, our brains, and get some rest and touch flowers and make frogs jump.

                                  1. re: acssss

                                    I never said most of that. What did I say that you object to?

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      No objection. I was emphasizing what you said. There are people who read, listen, experience, learn and others who cut and paste from links they read on the internet and live solely by that. I prefer your method :-)

                                  2. re: Veggo

                                    Reading something does not equal knowing something.

                                2. re: Veggo

                                  No fishing at all.
                                  Does any one believe that the Orowheat at Ranch 99 is different than the one at Mi Pueblo? or Safeway?
                                  The OP is suggesting that bread is being formulated differently base on the clienteles race.

                        2. I feel blessed to have never truly had a "sweet tooth," and what little I did have I outgrew early. I remember being surprised when I tried a sample loaf of one of the many breads we did not buy, a then-best-selling brand called Butter-Nut, and it was almost as sweet as a breakfast pastry! That was about 60 years ago, so the American taste for sweet foods has been around for a long time. In fact I think it's diminished quite a bit as we've become more generally sophisticated about diet and nutrition.

                          JeMange is taking more heat than warranted here for pointing out a simple and easily confirmable fact: grocery stores stock products aimed at the fat middle of their known demographic, and in the case of TJ's and WF that demographic is predominantly middle-class Caucasian. Of course there are shoppers of every ethnicity, but the foods they find there are the sort that can fill the typical white American family's pantry completely, but not necessarily that of a Latino, Asian, African-American or Middle Eastern household. Mrs. O and I are both of European descent, with some other ethnic strains present but not predominating, but we are not typically white American in our tastes, but we're related to plenty of folks who are. This includes quite a few people who I strongly suspect like mass-market style "whole" wheat bread, and prefer it to be sweet. We prefer TJ's Flourless Sprouted Wheatberry bread for nutrition, French or sourdough for fun. Yes, the "serious" bread has some sweetness to it – it's virtually held together by dates! – but it still makes a good sandwich, including tuna.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Will Owen

                            Thanks, Will. Your second paragraph states my feelings perhaps more eloquently than my OP.

                            The fact still remains - mass produced whole wheat breads - which I'd bet my life are primarily consumed by middle-class white folks, tend to be too sweet for me. It's like the manufacturers had to balance their perceived health benefits with enough of a "treat" flavor to make consumers think eating healthy wasn't some sort of punishment.

                            1. re: JeMange

                              Upon What do you base your assertion that caucasians have more of a sweet tooth than other ethnicities? I've never heard that before.

                              1. re: carolinadawg

                                The whole premise of this discussion is false from my prospective.
                                I would wager that artisan Bread Bakeries in my area are most frequented by Whites.
                                When in a Latino or Asian Bakery the Breads are MUCH sweeter than the local Amer/Euro Bakeries and about on par or sweeter than mass produced Breads. As far as African American Households I am guessing that the standard grocery store (Wonderish) Loaf is most common. That's what you are served at Black owned BBQ and Soul Food places around here.

                          2. There's too much sugar in most processed foods, not only bread.