WASHINGTON: The National Bread Leadership Council plans a stepped-up program of industry relations, media relations, and nutritional research to remind Americans why bread is an important part of their daily meals.
The council, a two-year-old trade association, recently held a National Bread Summit in Rhode Island with 150 industry leaders and roughly 50 media representatives in attendance. The summit was seen as a first step toward getting out bread's side of the debate in a country where low-carb diets are rapidly gaining popularity.
The council wants to "change the dialogue about carbohydrates," said Patrick Davis, whose St. Louis-based firm Patrick Davis Communications has been the council's AOR since it started two years ago. PR efforts will discuss nutrition - the council plans to sponsor new research on bread's nutritional role in the diet - but also will look at the cultural role bread plays in society, Davis said.
"The bread issue is not a black-and-white issue. Bread has been taken on as an easy target" by low-carb and anti-obesity forces, Davis said. The council's efforts are "about an engaged conversation with the general public," he said.
Davis has 10 of his firm's 29 employees working on the bread account. The council will use only PR, no advertising, to get its key message point out to the public, he said.
It also plans to step up industry relations so various segments of the bread production chain - from farmers to retailers - discuss the issue in more depth and work more closely together.
The council is the second organization to mobilize against low-carb diets. Oldways Preservation & Exchange Trust, a think tank that backs the Mediterranean diet, is planning a pro-carb conference in Italy next year. Pasta maker Barilla has signed on as a sponsor (see the December 1 story on prweek.com).
On the low-carb side, LowCarbiz, an industry newsletter, is planning a low-carb conference in Denver January 22-23. Blimpie, a fast-food chain that has been publicizing its low-carb offerings, has signed on as a sponsor of that event.