The Whole Wheat Truth

Posted in Bread Nutrition

Dear Brand Doctor,

I am kind of disappointed. I recently purchased Pepperidge Farm’s Natural Whole Grain bread (which was on your BestBrands list for healthy breads). A few days later I happened to be looking at the ingredients label and noticed that it had some junk ingredients in it. What gives?

Sign me, Naturally Disappointed

Dear Naturally,

I don’t blame you for being disappointed. In fact, you should be downright mad…at Pepperidge Farm! They offer two varieties of “natural” whole wheat breads. The wording on the packaging is so close they look almost identical. Take a look.


Healthy Food Imposter

Pepperidge Farm Natural Bread 100% Whole Grain

Ingredients: Unbromated Stone Ground 100% Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Crushed Wheat, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening (Soybean and Cottonseed Oils), Raisin Juice Concentrate, Wheat Gluten, Yeast, Whole Wheat Flakes, Unsulphured Molasses, Salt, Honey, Vinegar, Enzyme Modified Soy Lecithin, Cultured Whey, Wheat Starch, Unbleached Wheat Flour and Soy Lecithin.



Pepperidge Farm 100% Natural 100% Whole Wheat

Ingredients: Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Crushed Wheat, Wheat Gluten, Sugar, Raisin Juice Concentrate, Soybean Oil, Yeast, Contains 2 percent or less of: Wheat Bran, Whole Wheat Flakes, Unsulphured Molasses, Salt, Honey, Vinegar, Enzyme Modified Soy Lecithin, Cultured Whey (Milk) and Enzymes.

Decoding the Fine Print

There’s one obvious difference in the Healthy Food Imposter variety. The front label proclaims “Natural” but it doesn’t say “100% Natural.” You’ll find the “100%” wording on our BestBrands variety.

When we flip the loaves to compare ingredients lists, we find the differences not so subtle.

The Imposter is 100% whole wheat, which is a good thing, but it has some of the worst junk ingredients on the market today: trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. The Brand Doctors would never recommend this variety.

The BestBrands variety has all-natural ingredients, no harmful junk ingredients, and very few additives. It’s 100% whole wheat and clearly the better option.

Reality Check

This is a prime example of how food makers go out of their way to make it hard for shoppers to find junk-free products.
It raises the question: Why would Pepperidge Farm go to the expense of making two varieties of bread look so much alike?

It’s just a hunch, but they’re probably banking on the fact that many shoppers will choose the more-profitable variety with the cheaper junk ingredients.

Bottom line: At BrandAid we endorse a shopper-in-control mentality. Our mission is to teach shoppers like you how to avoid being tricked by sneaky labels that imply a product is healthy.

We try to make shopping easier for you by naming our BestBrands. But remember, all varieties of the same brand are not created equal. The only way to avoid being fooled is to get into the habit of ALWAYS reading EVERY ingredients label.

Knowledge is power. Consider yourself empowered!

Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.

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In Our Opinion: The information contained in the eBrandAid e-newsletters is strictly based on the opinions of the eBrand Doctors. We have created a set of guidelines that we believe will help shoppers to better understand and decode food labels on products found in most grocery stores. Our mission is to help shoppers find the healthier brands that have the least amount of chemicals and other junk ingredients.

One Response to “The Whole Wheat Truth”

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