Flat Breads Rise to the Top of Artisan Breads -- Damascus Bakery Bakes Up New Items to Meet Demand

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Damascus Bakery is a third-generation company of Artisan Bakers of flat breads, producing a full line of savory breads including Pitas, Lahvash, Panini, Pizza Crusts, Roll-ups and Wraps: hearth- baked breads combined with an innovative spirit for new flavors and ingredients.

Today's Shrinking Entrée

Foodies used to drive the growth for Artisan and Flat Breads, but these Artisan Breads have moved into mainstream menu selections and consumers are choosing them for a variety of reasons.

"Consumers are much more careful about their diets in general," noted Ed Mafoud, president of Damascus Bakery, a third-generation Artisan Baker of flat breads. "They're looking for high fiber and lower carbs with lots of nutrients, unusual grains and unique flavors."

Mafoud grew up in the bakery business at a time when flat breads were a niche market or ethnic market choice.

"We are definitely seeing a huge increase in consumption," says Mafoud, "and it's a good thing for the American population to have healthy and tasty alternatives in the bread aisle."

But it's not only in the bread aisle that flat breads are taking off. Sandwich sales at Quick Serve Restaurants (QSRs) and Sandwich Chains, like Quizno's and Subway, are seeing fast-food consumers migrate to a healthier alternative.

Wraps and roll-ups have also moved into the snack category. As Prepared Foods noted in an article titled "Today's Shrinking Entrée," the sandwich wrap is a classic example of a smaller meal. Many consumers prefer the convenience of a hand-held meal, the report notes, and the healthy benefits of a wrap containing vegetables and lean meats fits the requirements for health and convenience.

Flat breads, like wraps, roll-ups and paninis, are simple breads made from flattened dough. Often unleavened (made without yeast or sourdough culture) these breads are generally crafted with high-quality ingredients and careful attention to the chemistry throughout the process.

"Flat breads were originally hearth baked in small batches," says Mafoud. "Today, we've achieved the same effect through careful use of automation for baking Artisan Breads at a higher through-put rate."

A major portion of Damascus Bakery's flat breads are consumed by students in schools and universities. As the Millennials request better food choices in their school's food court, Mafoud continues to introduce new flavors and new products to meet their needs.

"We've seen the school market skyrocket in the last five years," notes Mafoud. "It's not like when I went to the college cafeteria - no, today's students demand healthy, tasty, nutritious selections and lots of flavor choices."

And, since college foodservice directors are measured on student participation in eating plans, food courts are continuing to serve up what's new and different.

Sandwiches have always been a mainstay on the American menu. "We love to make sandwiches and love to be creative with their foundations -- the bread we use as a "blank canvass." So, when consumers started using flat breads and other Artisan Breads, their sandwich experience became a premium, more satisfying solution for all parts of the day.

Along those lines, Mafoud notes that breakfast sandwich consumption also continues to rise.

Damascus Bakery is a third-generation company of Artisan Bakers of flat breads, producing an extensive line of flat breads: Pitas, Lahvash, Panini, Roll-ups and Wraps. The company continues a long tradition of hearth-baked breads, combined with an innovative spirit for new flavors and ingredients. Located in Brooklyn, NY, more information can be found at Damascus Bakeries or by calling 718.855.1456.

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Edward Mafoud

Kae Wagner
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