The difference between real and processed foods

We tend to think of processed food as bad and “real foods” as good but there are first-order processed foods that can be a great help to us. Canned tomatoes and milled flour are just two. You wouldn’t want to mill your own flour, would you?

Then there are the ultra- or hyper-processed foods that have been prominent in the news of late. They may look attractive but are low in nutritional content and are full of ingredients that you wouldn’t recognise or keep in your kitchen, nor be able to picture in their natural form. Have a look through their ingredients: Polysorbate 60 or humectant, anyone?

These are the kind of ingredients that we find unnecessary. It means that we have to plan the shelf life of our products carefully but whether we’re making tomato soup or brioche rolls, we use ingredients in their natural and original condition (or as close to as possible).

We aim to cook and bake delicious food, higher in vitamin, mineral content and bioactive compounds such as fibre, than their highly processed counterparts.

Swallow This

Mmm, “fresh“, “natural” and “healthy” – that might be what’s on the packaging but is it really what you’re getting? There are guidelines on food labelling but they aren’t always that stringent.

Natural is different to processed but the labelling can be very confusing. A natural ingredient like a potato for instance, can be processed, changed and highly manipulated and still be classed as natural. The situation is similar with meats labelled “natural“: it has nothing to do with being organic or free-range – just “minimally processed“.

We are proud of our fresh bread at Honesty. It is made using basic ingredients with no part baking or any processing aids – but beware! Others can use the term “fresh, freshly baked or artisan” when selling bread which contains processing aids, part baked bread that is heated up in store, frozen bread that is “baked-off” at in-store bakeries. Is that really fresh bread?

At Honesty we really do bake fresh bread and are always trying to improve our links with our suppliers, so we can be honest about what goes into our produce and its traceability.

Into our loaves go the four basic ingredients: flour, water, yeast and a little bit of salt. The resulting dough is then folded and shaped by hand. Other ingredients – such as honey, seeds, nuts and fruits – are added to speciality loaves but only as long as they are natural and themselves contain no artificial additives.

What makes Honesty breads Real Bread?

• Long fermentation of doughs – no enhancers, improvers or conditioners,
• One continuous baking process – no part-baking or freezing of the dough,
• Made using locally-milled flour from Doves Farm just 12.5 miles away who produce flour with higher levels of environmental and animal welfare, lower levels of pesticides and no genetically modified ingredients (GM) or artificial fertilisers compared to modern, non-organic farming.
• Low salt content – 1% or less of final product.

Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself

We love this approach to food in Food Rules by Michael Pollan and it’s one we like to adhere to.

Here is a picture of all the ingredients needed to bake one of our Honesty bakewell slices: plain flour, caster sugar, almonds (ground and flaked), raspberry jam, eggs and butter.

Just 6 ingredients, all which are easily recognisable, easy to pronounce and are readily available, perhaps already in your kitchen.

Compare it to this ingredients list for a mass produced, supermarket brand bakewell slice: wheat flour, sugar, vegetable oils, plum and raspberry jams, preservative (potassium sorbate), glucaose syrup, water, soya flour, whey powder, ground rice, invert sugar syrup, humectant, vegetable fats, skimmed milk powder, dried egg white, ground almonds, salt, emulsifiers, raising agents, fat reduced cocoa powder, milk protein, flavouring, stabiliser (sorbitan tristearate), preservative (potassium sorbate), colour (lutein).

A whopping 25 ingredients, some of which might be difficult to recognise or pronounce and make you wonder “what are they doing there?”

Honesty Coffee Shops & Bakery

To enjoy Honesty’s freshly baked bread and patisserie, breakfast or lunch, do visit one of our coffee shops in Hungerford (in Barr’s Yard on the A4), Lambourn, Kingsclere, Inkpen, Overton or Houghton Lodge Gardens.

Click here to find out about how to order our wholesale bakery and kitchen



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up to the free weekly

Penny Post


For: local positive news, events, jobs, recipes, special offers, recommendations & more.

Covering: Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage, Lambourn, Compton, Swindon & Theale