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BENE bread campaign hailed as a great success

In the 10 years to 2017, bread consumption in Belgium and the Netherlands decreased considerably because of negative publicity and a perception among the public that that bread was not as healthy as bread substitutes.

Between 2011 and 2016 per capita consumption of bread decreased by 9.2kg (-15.3%) in the Netherlands and by 8.2kg (-15.8%) in Belgium.

Consequently, three Netherlands and three Belgian associations joined forces to establish a three-year "BENE" bread campaign to counter the negative trend with the objective "to stabilize the total volume at 1 271 065 million tons by 2020."

Supported by the European Commission with a budget of €6.75 million for the three years, consumers were targeted according to the action strategy: Touch-Tell-Sell. Touch: TV/online (NE), radio (BE), social media/search engines (NE, BE); Tell: websites, social media, PR (activations), professional events (NE, BE); and Sell: Bread tastings (NE, BE), consumer events (NE). The ain message being: 'Bread from Europe – a great story'.

Team Brood has confirmed that the campaign has been a success: "After ten years of a drop in bread sales, there has been noticed a growth in the Netherlands and in Belgium. This is even better than we hoped for as the goal was to stagnate the bread sales."

The pandemic began towards the end of the campaign, so there cannot be any certainty as to whether it had an influence. "It’s hard to say if the coronavirus had any effect on the consumption of bread," said the team. The impact of corona has been two sided: "Planned tastings in the supermarkets and on big events weren’t allowed until now. The media presence via TV, radio and online was bigger than expected because more people were stuck at home due to the lockdown and watched/listened TV or radio."

"The campaign will end this year, but thanks to its success we submitted a new subsidy application for a sequel campaign for 2021 -2023 at the European Commission." However, the team added that it is not certain the request will be successful as yet.