A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46

3 3.


This section is an attempt to assess the consumption of N.W.B. by housewives and to explore the attitudes towards the bread of those who know about it.


1. There were sharp differences in the proportions in different regions acquainted with National Wheatmeal Bread. Similar though somewhat less marked differences were noticed in the proportions in different social groups acquainted with the bread. On the total figures some 33% of the sample knew nothing about National Wheatmeal Bread even after description whilst about 55% of the sample were able to correctly differentiate N.W.B. without any aid.

2. Of the whole sample 21.8% had bought some N.W.B. during the seven days before interviewing. In addition to this 17.7% of the sample had bought some N.W.B. during the 2 or 3 weeks before interviewing. There were marked regional and social differences in the proportions buying. Of those buying in the seven days before interviewing, 34% bought 1-2 lb., 29% bought 3-5 lb., 37% bought over 5 lb.

3. Some 1,895 housewives, all of whom were able to identify the bread, replied to a question asking whether N.W.B. could be obtained from their regular baker. 58.4% said “ Always “, 11% said “Sometimes “ , 6.5% said “ Never “, 24.1% “ Didn’t Know “. Regional comparisons show that in some areas at least this may partly explain low buying proportions.

4. Asked to express their preference for white, ordinary brown or National Wheatmeal those housewives acquainted with N.W.B. gave their 1st choices as follows:-

white 59.6% Ordinary Brown 14.7% National Wheatmeal 25.7%

These housewives of course were biassed in the direction of National Wheatmeal at least to the extent of knowing about it. Further analysis, however, shows that in the absence of white bread and, assuming that knowledge of National Wheatmeal Bread is not increased, some 58% of those answering this question would choose National Wheatmeal before ordinary brown. This figure amounts to 27% of the whole sample.

5. Housewives who had bought National Wheatmeal were asked what first brought it to their notice. The results indicate that promotion of N.W.B. through Press and Wireless made a greater impression on the higher social groups than the lower. The lower social groups on the other hand were more affected than the higher by personal recommendation and personal contact.

6. A comparison of regional figures for those who had tried and given up National Wheatmeal with those trying the bread showed that those areas with the largest proportion trying National Wheatmeal had the largest proportions giving it up absolutely and relatively . A clear majority of those saying why they had given up the bread gave unspecific reasons or reasons indicating unwillingness to change old habits or form new ones.

7. Asked to compare keeping qualities of National Wheatmeal Bread of those trying the bread, compared with ordinary brown:-

21.6% said “ Keeps Better ”, 18.9% said “ Gets stale more quickly ”, 23.9% said “ It was the same ” , 35.6% “ Didn’t know .”

Compared with white bread:

25.5% said it “ Keeps better “. 24% said “ Gots stale more quickly “, 19% said “It was the same”,” Didn’t know .”



Described correctly 54.8% Incorrect
Don’t know 45.2%
Did not recognise the description

Total recognising or identifying National Wheatmeal Bread. 66.9%

Total not recognising National Wheatmeal Bread. 33.1%

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