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The packaged bread according to Esselunga

Bread, once the protagonist of the Italian diet, maintains a central role in Esselunga – the leading Italian group in terms of productivity, in the sector retail – which still produces products under its own brand in its own industrial bakery. An insight.

Esselunga, international productivity record

Esselunga has always stood out, in large-scale distribution in Italy and Europe, for record productivity. The latest data refer to 16.970 €/sqm of annual revenues, +168% compared to the national average of 6.330 €/sqm (Nielsen guide - Largo Consumo, I semester 2022).

Internationally, according to the latest Mediobanca report, Esselunga's productivity in 2020 stood out in first place (15.343 €/m2), closely followed by J. Sainsbury (14.047 €/m2) and Wm Morrisons (11.293) in the UK, Woolworth (11.274 €/m2) and Coles (11.039) in Australia. (1)

The formula for success

The first supermarket di Esselunga was opened by Bernardo Caprotti, in the center of Milan, way back in 1957. The second in Florence, in 1961, then another sixteen – ten in Milan, five in Florence, one in Pistoia – and the first centralized warehouse, in 1964. Thus began the story of the 'Italian Supermarkets', with that elongated S from which the 'Esselunga' brand derives (literally, 'Long S').

The success of Esselunga was instantaneous, thanks to a wide range of carefully selected products in stores located in central and strategic areas. In full tree Italian economy, after the post-war recovery. And it continued steadily, thanks to a wise man mix – high quality at the right price, centrality of the shops, solidarity (2,3) – which has retained generations of consumers.

The packaged bread according to Esselunga

Production en casa of Esselunga-branded bread is somehow emblematic of market trends in the cities of Northern Italy above all. Following is a brief review of the category, presented to us by those who work on its production, Andrea Ferretti.

1) 'White' bread and 'semolina' bread

White bread and semolina bread – made, respectively, with 'type 0' soft wheat flour and re-milled durum wheat semolina – are still the best-selling products. Their structure is very soft with a clear and not very crunchy crust, following cooking at an average temperature of 360 degrees.

Glycemic load and glycemic index are high (Glycaemic Index close to 90), due to the carbohydrates offered by unrefined flours. The fat content is among the lowest in the Esselunga 'bread' category, which does not include traditional Italian 'water bread'.

1.1) Soft wheat bread. List of ingredients and nutritional values

wheat flour 'type 0' 61%, water, Italian extra virgin olive oil (3%), iodised salt, brewer's yeast. Treated with ethyl alcohol. Preserved bread. (4) May contain traces of soy, milk, eggs, sesame seeds, nuts, (5) mustard, lupine.

1.2) Soft durum wheat bread, ingredients and nutritional values

Remilled semolina durum wheat 58%, water, Italian extra virgin olive oil 3%, brewer's yeast, salt, dextrose. Treated with ethyl alcohol.
Traces: eggs, lupins, milk, mustard, nuts, sesame seeds, soy.

2) Whole grain bread and six grain bread

The integral it is characterized by the highest content of dietary fiber, including soluble fibers – the elixir of life, as we have seen (6) – and the lowest glycemic index, compared to classic white bread and semolina bread. And that of Esselunga is a true wholemeal, that is to say produced with wholemeal flours (rather than with refined flours and the addition of bran). (7)

The 'six cereal' it has an appreciable profile of fatty acids, thanks to the presence of extra virgin olive oil, sesame seeds and flax. Both products also have a lower salt content than Esselunga's 'white loaves' and are therefore also preferable, in terms of the balance between flavor and health.

The cooking temperature in the oven it is very similar to that of white bread and semolina, but the structure of wholemeal and multi-grain breads is harder and more compact, less soft and more crunchy.

2.1) Soft wholemeal bread, ingredients and nutritional table

Flour is made from whole wheat (58%), followed by water, Italian extra virgin olive oil (3%), brewer's yeast, salt, dextrose. The presence of gluten is indicated, although obvious. And the 'may contain' of eggs, lupins, milk, mustard, nuts, sesame seeds, soy.

2.2) Soft bread with six cereals, ingredients and nutritional table

The multi-grain It is based on '0' type soft wheat flour (36%), water, '00' type soft wheat flour (8%), sesame seeds (3%), Italian extra virgin olive oil (3% ), whole soybeans (3%), cornmeal (1,9%), linseed (1,9%). Wholemeal rye flour (1,9%), oat flakes (1,8%), dried wheat sourdough, brewer's yeast. Salt, barley flour (0,8%), millet seeds (0,5%), dextrose, gluten, wheat malt flour.

3) 'Equilibrium' line. Protein bread and three spelled bread

The 'Equilibrium' line of Esselunga includes two baked products, protein bread and three-spelled bread. Although sales volumes are still far from traditional breads, the trend of foods with proteins highlighted on the label front is clearly on the rise. (8).

Vegetable proteins of soy and wheat characterize the protein bread which is also rich in fibres, has the lowest glycemic index and sodium content in the category of Esselunga brand breads. With an appreciable variety of seeds (flax, sunflower, sesame, pumpkin). Cooking is also slower, by about 6 minutes, in order to reduce the humidity content.

The 'three spelled bread' has the primacy as regards the richness in fiber (which is also associated with a greater sense of satiety following consumption, ed) and the low glycemic index, among Esselunga breads. Compared to the protein bread of the same brand, its texture is softer, the sodium content higher and the moisture content slightly lower.

3.1) Soft protein bread, ingredients and nutritional values

Water, flour 'type 0' soft wheat (31%), wholemeal soft wheat flour (6%), flax seeds (6%), wheat gluten, sunflower seeds (3%), sesame seeds (7%). Soybeans (2%), rye sourdough powder, soy flour (1%), pumpkin seeds (1%), brewer's yeast, pea bran, toasted sesame oil, salt, phosphate rye, dehydrated yeast.

3.2) Three spelled soft bread, list of ingredients and nutritional values

wheat flour soft type '0', water, spelled mix 12% [wheat (farro) wholemeal spelled 8%, wheat (spelt) 2%, corn (spelt) 2%], sunflower seeds 2,5%, wheat fibres, wheat gluten, sugar, brown linseed 2%, malt extract barley flour, whey powder, brewer's yeast, millet seeds 1,2%, wholemeal wheat sourdough (spelt) powder 1,2%, salt, fermented wheat starch, wheat seed oil sunflower.

4) Pain brioché

The pain brioche complete the category Esselunga bread with a sweet taste and a very soft consistency, favored by the use of a patented emulsion with butter and moderate quantities of sugar, in addition to egg yolk.

A typical breakfast food, cooked more delicately (about 300 °C) than other breads, light brown on the outside and yellow on the inside, due to the presence of egg yolk, with low humidity.

4.1) Pain brioché, ingredients and nutritional table

Even the pain brioche it is made with 'type 0' soft wheat flour, water, sugar (9%), anhydrous butter (6%), fresh Italian category A free-range egg yolk (5%), brewer's yeast, skimmed milk powder (1%), salt, mono and diglyceride emulsifiers of fatty acids, malted wheat flour, flavourings.

Dario Dongo

Footnotes

(1) Mediobanca Research Area. Observatory on food-predominant large-scale distribution. https://www.mediobancasecurities.com/file/Presentazione%20GDO%202022_DEF.pdf?uid=f12f8b95-b434-4afd-a8d2-2ea88f4d983f&docRef=de5fca41-c5c7-4272-8515-dabc73e85cd3&jobRef=f9562a8a-e79f-4652-86d0-c75e615f1b6e 17.3.22. See slide 21, foreign and national operators compared

(2) Dario Dongo. From schools to beaches, brilliant GDO initiatives in Italy. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 7.9.19

(3) Dario Dongo, Giulia Caddeo. Esselunga, free delivery to disabled and elderly people. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 2.4.20

(4) Dario Dongo. Fresh and preserved bread, ABC ministerial decree. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 30.11.18

(5) The designation 'fruit with nuts', please note, is not allowed in Europe. Allergens belonging to this category must in fact be designated with their specific name, as also clarified in the specific guidelines of the European Commission. See Dario Dongo. Allergens, guidelines. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 15.9.17

(6) Dario Dongo, Carlotta Suardi. Whole grain and fiber, long healthy life. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 25.1.19

(7) Dario Dongo. Integral false, lost virtues and possible contraindications. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 23.5.19

(8) Protein content on the front label? The lawyer Dario Dongo answers. DO (Food and Agriculture Requirements). 3.12.22

(9) Ethyl alcohol in baked goods, how to indicate it on the label? The lawyer Dario Dongo answers. DO (Food and Agriculture Requirements). 24.11.21

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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