A random weighing of loaves of bread by Nairobi News has confirmed that unsuspecting Kenyans are buying underweight bread.
A 400g loaf was found to be 385g a day after it was delivered to the retailer.
Another loaf from a different baker was found to be weighing 395g on the second day as opposed to the indicated 400g.
The first baker though had a write up next to the weight writings that the loaf is 400g “when packed” but the second baker only had the measurements.
According to James Mukubi, a baking consultant at Vision Bakery, bread losses weight after baking either because of the recipe used or the wrong baking conditions.
“If the dough is underweight before baking, then it will definitely have an effect on the final weight. With the correct baking temperatures of 230 degrees, the initial dough should weigh 480g then the final product after slicing should weigh between 405 to 410g,” Mukubi told Nairobi News.
The consultant explained how some bakeries loose much of the weight by baking under low temperatures, use of substandard equipment or rushing the process to meet the demand.
“The bread should be sliced with a sharp slicer to avoid losing much of it through bread crumps that remain after slicing and the cooling time before slicing should be six hours because if it’s sliced and packaged while still warm then it will end up underweight as it tries to lose the moisture content in the packaging,” he added.
Mr Mukubi said bread has seven days shelf life and this is determined by the quality of ingredients as well.
“Bread should stay on shelve for 7 days if well baked and the factors to consider include quality of the wheat used that is mature grain that is and well dried and milled. The recipe also matters for instance ordinary sugar versus industrial sugar. In general it is the production supervisor who ensures all the standards are met and that the consumer in the end buys a quality bread that weighs exactly what is indicated on the packaging,” he explained.
When Nairobi News randomly asked retailers why they were selling underweight bread, one retailer blamed the bakers saying they trust them to supply items in the correct measurements.
One supermarket branch manager explained that bread tends to lose its moisture content adding that their in-house bakery ensures the end product weighs 5grammes more by having more dough before baking.
The Ministry of Trade and Industrialization has a Weights and Measures department that is constitutionally mandated to carry out periodic measurements of prepackaged products to ensure correct measurements are indicted and that consumers make an informed decision.
Nairobi News has since contacted the department to share its findings and obtain a response as to what should be done to manufactures who mislead consumers on the packaging. Watch out our follow up story with the department’s action plan.