Dear Friends

DF 48 - Toaster slot revelation

May 2008

Dear Friends

If I'm generous I could allow that a Tesco Farmhouse loaf is 9 inches long (that's a foot on the average guy). The bread's ok but there's a problem with the crusts; they won't go in my toaster. I didn't think much about it until I realised there might be a sinister reason behind these extra large slices. I mean to say, a lot of people - kids in particular - don't eat crusts, so they get thrown away and that's a terrible waste. We've lived through a quarter century of bulging fridges and overstuffed breadbins so it's time to trim the glut wouldn't you say.

However I do enjoy crusts, particularly when they are toasted with a bit of butter and some homemade lemon and clementine marmalade, made by a friend from the produce in my garden.

Much to the astonishment of related onlookers I took a tape to the offending loaf-ends, but found them hard to measure accurately. So I measured the slots at the top of my four slice professional toaster - it's known as a Rowlett Regent which, unlike my sadly demised Panasonic pencil sharpener, has survived many years of daily use - to discover the size of the holes into which the crusts would not fit, ergo they must be bigger.

The slots in the toaster each measured 1.125 inches. There are two slices in a loaf; therefore the amount of bread that cannot be used must be at least 2.25 inches. Remembering the total length of a loaf is 9 inches we come to the disturbing conclusion that one quarter - yes 25% - of every Tesco farmhouse granary loaf is likely to be thrown away, either because we don't like crusts or because they won't fit in any normal toaster - I should mention that my slots are slightly bigger than the average.

I don't think a company like Tesco would have had this happen by accident, so I'm forced to conclude that we are throwing away a lot of bread that could well be used, in order to make us buy more than we can actually eat.

This gets up my nose.

If the crusts were thinner by half then every loaf would produce two extra slices and even if the new slim-line crusts were uneaten we'd all be better off by 1.125 inches of bread.

Is there any way I can bring this to the attention of the right people?

There's a prize for the best answer(s), which is a VIP package of 2 x tickets and backstage passes to any Deep Purple show (excluding Montreux). [Competition closed]

As you can see it's time for me to get back to work.


Ian Gillan

Copyright © Ian Gillan 2008

Andy Jones' competition entry.

According to the fabulously interesting website 12 million loaves are sold each day in the UK. Assuming that Tesco sells the equivalent of 10% of its 30% market share this would lead to the following mind numbing equation:

12,000,000 x 30% (market share) x 10% = 360,000 loaves
X (say) 300 days in a year = 108,000,000 loaves
Taking 25% wastage this would leave an equivalent of 27,000,000 loaves
Taking granary bread as ‘speciality ‘bread this would account for around 24% of the market = 6,480,000 loaves

If, as you say, each loaf is around 9 inches long, you could build a bread wall around Tesco’s head office. It is a reasonable assumption that the wall would be high enough to block out the light in the Chief Executive’s office on the top floor. I would then suggest that you crank up the amps to 1970s Guinness Book of Records levels and utter a trademark scream. The necessary personnel will then be made aware of your culinary dissatisfaction.

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