National Loaf

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The National Loaf was a bread made from wholemeal flour with added calcium and vitamins, introduced in Britain during the Second World War by the Federation of Bakers (FOB).[1] Introduced in 1942, the loaf (similar to today's brown bread) was made from wholemeal flour to combat wartime shortages of white flour. The loaf was abolished in October 1956.[2]

National loaf
Place of originBritain
Main ingredientsWholemeal flour


The National Loaf was grey, mushy and unappetising; only one person in seven preferred it to white bread, which became unavailable. The government insisted on it because it saved space in shipping food to Britain,[3] allowed better utilization of existing stocks of wheat,[4] and discouraged the immoderate consumption of bread.


The Federation of Bakers was set up in 1942 to produce the National Loaf.

Eleanor Roosevelt, the American First Lady, visiting Buckingham Palace in 1942, noted that "We were served on gold and silver plates, but our bread was the same kind of war bread every other family had to eat."[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The 1940s House: The Kitchen". Discovery Communications, Inc. 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  2. ^ "The 20th Century". Federation of Bakers. 2007. Archived from the original on 11 July 2007. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
    - Derek J. Oddy (2003). From plain fare to fusion food: British diet from the 1890s to the 1990s. Boydell Press. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-85115-934-8. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  3. ^ Richard W. Lacey (1994). Hard to Swallow: A Brief History of Food. Cambridge University Press. pp. 108–9. ISBN 9780521440011.
    - Angus Calder, The people's war: Britain 1939-45 (1969) pp 276-77
  4. ^ "Unconventional Ingredients". The Great British Bake Off. Season 4. Episode 8. 8 October 2013. BBC Two.
  5. ^ Edna Healey (2012). The Queen's House: A Social History of Buckingham Palace. Pegasus Books. p. 275. ISBN 9781453265277.

Further readingEdit