Broadway Bakery launches #BeSugarSmart campaign


By Christine Muchira

Broadway Bakery Ltd. Friday launched a countrywide campaign, calling on Kenyans to abandon sugar habits that are killing them, in a drive that the bakery has embedded into its own production by offering bread with low levels of sugar content.

“Our bread making has been driven by the mission of creating healthier bread, with low sugar, salt and fat content, no added additives and dough that is rich in essential nutrients and fibre across energy, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals,” said Broadway Bakery Managing Director Mr. Bimal Shah.

“As we watch lifestyle diseases not only knocking out an older generation of Kenyans, but also increasingly damaging the health and lives of younger Kenyans, we now feel the need to dedicate some of our revenues to alerting consumers on the real horrors of excessive sugar consumption,” he said.

Data shows that Kenya is one of the most afflicted countries in the world in diseases caused by excessive sugar consumption, with lifestyle diseases now accounting for 27 per cent of deaths of Kenyans aged between 30 and 70 years, according to The Ministry of Health Annual Status Report.

Worldwide, bad eating and poor exercise is causing diseases that are killing 38million people a year, with 16million of the victims being less than 70 years old, according to the World Health Organization.

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Sugar, specifically, through the relentless rise in diabetes, is causing kidney failures, the loss and amputation of limbs, high blood pressure and heart failures, amongst other health issues. The problem is now so severe that it has triggered moves worldwide to introduce new taxes on sugary products to raise funds for the soaring medical and hospital costs the ingredient is causing.

Kenyans, however, continue to consume some of the highest levels of sugar in the world, especially in their love for sweet bread, and are moving into a lead position on diabetes deaths. In 2015 alone, half a million new cases of diabetes were reported in Kenya, according to the International Diabetes Federation Africa.

“Sugar is now emerging as a bigger killer than any previous headline disease,” said Mr. Bimal. “It is a tragedy to see the life of any young person, who should have had so much to look forward to, destroyed by organ failure or a catastrophic coma because they have simply overloaded their bodies with sugar,” he said.

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The deadly and disabling illnesses caused by bad eating will be responsible for up to 60 per cent of all Kenyan deaths by 2030, predicts the Non-Communicable Disease Alliance of Kenya (NCDAK).

“Bad foods are bringing on a health disaster in the nation,” said Mr.Devan Shah, Business Development Executive at Broadway Bakery. “It is an issue that food producers need to wake up to, consumers need to wake up to, parents need to understand and we all need to play a part in preventing, which is what has prompted our #BeSugarSmart drive.”

Broadway Bakery, a market leader in the manufacturing of bread, has taken a leapfrog towards healthier food production methods for its own bread. “We ensure that we blend high protein wheat sourced from 100 per cent whole grain. Hence, there is no need to add extra enzymes or chemical improvers to improve the quality of the flour and bread,” said Mr. Bimal.

“Our bread is made by the traditional process of ‘sponge and dough’, using only fortified wheat flour, yeast, sugar, salt, vegetable fat, emulsion and acetic acid as a mould inhibitor. This ensures that we produce the best quality bread without compromising on taste, texture and nutrition.”

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“It is our hope that as we gather momentum in alerting the public to the scale of the danger from excessive sugar consumption, others will now join us in effecting real change in Kenyans’ eating habits and in our health profiles moving ahead,” said Mr. Bimal.

“Poor eating habits and the availability of substandard processed foods are among the major causes of lifestyle diseases. These unhealthy eating habits affect our daily nutrient intake of energy, protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, fibreand fluids. The typical diet is too high in calories, saturated fat, sodium, low calcium and added sugars,” he said.

Broadway Bakery will be promoting its #BeSugarSmart initiative throughout this year by talking at industry conferences, the first of which will be at the African Food Manufacturing and Safety Summit in June, and releasing information on research conducted in line with sugar intake.

Social media drives and working with interested parties will also be necessary in order to spread the message far and wide and give Kenyans the information they need before it is too late.

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