Big bakers have expressed willingness to reduce the use of sugar in the production of bread products, particularly pandesal, to help alleviate the tight supply of sugar, support sugar farmers, and promote healthy eating in the country,
Johnlu Koa, president of the country’s largest commercial bakers association – Philippine Baking Industry Group, said they can reformulate their pandesal recipe following calls by small bakers for big bakers to reduce sugar and return to the original salty pandesal. Sugar is one of the major ingredients in bread production.
“Yes, of course,” said Koa, but he hastened to add that it is like “asking consumers to reduce sugar in coffee.”
Nonetheless, Koa explained that in the science of baking, sugar could be reduced by half without affecting the volume of baked products nor the bread quality.
“The overall impact is the lack of sweetness that will hamper consumption,” said Koa, explaining further that most baked goods are consumed as breakfast product because “We need a surge of carbohydrates to jump start our energy production .. that gives us an energy high in the morning to take us through the routine of getting to work or school on time so to speak.”
To illustrate, he said, most breakfast items are sweet such as pancakes and honey, strawberry and coco jam, French toasts with sugar and cinnamon.
Koa, founder and CEO of The French Baker in the Philippines, further added that “Somehow, consumers can still cope with reduced sugar in pandesal by sweetening up with fillings.”
Lucito “Chito” Chavez, president of small bakeries group — Asosasyon ng Panaderong Pilipino, said that aside from helping the sugar industry, putting less sugar in bread is healthier than the sweet pandesal.
“Let us promote healthy eating,” said Chavez.
Chavez shared that the original pandesal is not really sweet, but it has evolved into a sweet bread overtime.
“We are not saying, increase the salt content, just reduce the sugar content and we can taste the saltiness of the pandesal. That is the real pandesal in 1969 and the 70s,” he added.
Chavez said they raised this proposal to go back to salty pandesal as his group also supports President Marcos’ decision against sugar importation stressing that the Philippines is a sugar producing country.
While bakers have no interest in sugar, they are affected every time prices of sugar go up. Thus, bakers are promoting alternative local ingredients to be used in bread production to lessen importation.
“We would like to support the Filipino sugar planters,” he said. Refined sugar prices have climbed to P110 per kilo.