Economy, Business And Markets

Industrial Bread Makes More Economic Sense

Industrial Bread Makes More Economic Sense
Industrial Bread Makes More Economic Sense

Iran’s bread market has witnessed years-long disputes over the economic ramifications of sticking to traditional approaches in baking flatbreads over modern methods used for producing industrial breads.

The government has also fanned the flames of these disputes by providing traditional bakeries with subsidized flour or setting different prices for the staple food in different provinces.

Figures show that around 20,000 billion rials ($666.66 million at official exchange rate) worth of bread are wasted annually in Iran, thanks to the low quality of different kinds of Iranian flatbreads.

Every year, the government allocates around 90,000 billion rials (around $3 billion) for traditional bread bakers, Forsat-e Emrooz quoted the head of Leavened and Semi-Leavened Breads Producers and Sellers Association as saying.  

Mohammad Javad Karami called for the elimination of this huge amount of subsidy and said, “The move would encourage investors to put their money into modernizing the bakery industry. This is while industrial bakeries are unable to compete with bakeries that enjoy government subsidies.”

“Per capita consumption of bread, the staple food of most Iranian households, stands at 145 kg whereas the figure stands at 65 kg in Europe and North America, which have already modernized their bakery industry,” he said.

“Iranian flatbreads are sometimes criticized for being baked under unsanitary conditions or processed unhealthily. On the other hand, leavened breads have better quality and longer shelf-life compared to the traditional flatbreads, since they are baked by indirect heating. The absence of soda bicarbonate in the dough also reduces gastric problems.

Karami noted that Iran is home to more than 3,800 small and 17 large industrial bakeries.

“Each small bakery creates jobs for five to six people whereas 50 people are needed to run a large industrial bakery. But when it comes to consumer market, industrial breads do not fare that well. They account for as little as 7% of the consumer market,” he said.

Industrial bread is the term given to any bread produced in large volumes in baking factories. White bread loaves can be baked in a factory as well as in small quantity by local bakeries.

In the large-scale bread industry, most of the work is handled by machines. However, traditional bread in Iran is baked manually in traditional-style ovens.