CHICAGO — With so many people cutting their carb consumption to lose weight, Chicago-based Alpha Baking Co. rolled out Natural Ovens Keto-Friendly bread and buns that also offer a cleaner label.
“I think keto is popular because it works,” said Tim Lotesto, senior director, national retail key accounts for Alpha Baking. “It may not work for everyone, but those who benefit often see dramatic results.”
Consumers who are on the strict keto diet typically must cut out all carbohydrates. That means bread comes off their menu of options. For those dieters who are reducing carbs, however, Natural Ovens Keto-Friendly bread and buns provide a balance. The white bread has 12 grams of carbohydrates and 12 grams of dietary fiber per slice. Each bun features 26 grams of carbs and 25 grams of fiber.
“One thing we heard over and over from people on the keto diet was how much they miss eating bread,” Mr. Lotesto said. “That led us to begin the process of developing a keto-friendly bread that people could enjoy without ‘cheating.’ We’ve found since introducing this bread to market that people who don’t follow the keto diet but want to watch their carbs are enjoying it just as much.”
Mr. Lotesto added that Alpha Baking collaborated with an ingredient supplier on the formulation to obtain the reduced amount of carbohydrates “without turning the ingredient legend into a novel.”
“Formulating was a balancing act between producing a dough that will run on commercial equipment and producing a great tasting bread that meets keto-friendly standards,” he observed.
An 18-oz loaf and 8-count pack of buns have a suggested retail price of $5.29, which is in the standard price range of gluten-free or organic breads.
“To put it simply, the price point is higher than conventional white bread because our cost is higher than conventional white bread,” Mr. Lotesto explained. “The ingredient cost is the most obvious difference, but there are also efficiency challenges when running a product that uses no flour on production lines built to run traditional bread products.”
The Natural Ovens brand of more healthful baked goods is sold throughout the Midwest with the keto-friendly bread promoted in supermarkets, club stores and mass merchandisers. Mr. Lotesto said the new bread and buns can be sold in either the bread aisle or on a supplemental ledge or display near the deli or elsewhere in the store.
“Many people on a keto diet avoid bread altogether, so you’re not going to attract their attention in the bread aisle — they’re not walking down it,” he explained. “On the other hand, those who do eat bread but are looking to cut down on their carb intake will notice no- or low-carb breads on the bread shelf next to their current, higher carb favorite. The ideal placement in store is really both spots, in the bread aisle and on a supplemental ledge or display.”