Bread seems to be the unofficial food of quarantine. No wonder — it’s comforting, it’s affordable, and it’s a soothing home project to tackle, if you’re into that sort of thing.
But much as we love bread, we know that eating it all day, every day is probably not the healthiest decision in the world. A Japanese startup called Base Food is bringing a more nutritionally appealing bread offering to the U.S.
Founded in 2016, Base Food uses nutrient-dense ingredients like whole grain flour, seaweed, and flaxseed to develop healthier versions of staple foods. Starting today, the company’s second product, Base Bread, will be available direct-to-consumer in California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Nevada and Colorado.
It will come in just one big 72-gram roll, which will cost $3.33 each or $2.99 each if you sign up for a monthly subscription. The bread will come frozen, which is why the company is only able to ship within a 2-day radius of their Reno, Nevada manufacturing facility. Frozen food typically equates to high shipping costs, but when I spoke to Base Food’s COO Michael Rosenzweig last week said they have yet to finalize their fees.
Base Food already sells two products — Base Noodles and Base Bread — in its native Japan, and the noodles are already available in the same seven U.S. states which can purchase the bread. Down the road, Rosenzweig said that the company is looking to get into foodservice retail channels, specifically through corporate cafeterias.
Another selling point is Base Bread’s shelf life. Rosenzweig told me that the bread will last a year in the freezer. We’ve in the midst of a pandemic that leads to both panic shopping and a fear of the grocery store, so Base Food’s nutritional profile and long life are both timely selling points. Then again, $3.33 is expensive for a single-serve roll of bread when you can buy a hefty loaf of artisan sourdough from your local bakery for $6 or $7 bucks — or just make your own.
I actually got to sample Base Bread at SKS Japan in August 2019. It was soft and squishy with a malty sweetness — sort of like a honey whole wheat bread. We also got to taste Base Noodles at the SKS 2019 Future Food competition in October, and they were tasty with a flavor akin to a nutty soba noodle.
As someone who loves carbs more than anything else in this world, but is trying to hang onto some semblance of healthy eating during quarantine, Base Bread offers an appealing option. At least until I smother it with butter.