Bakery shut in ‘bread war’

BREAD: It costs at least 40 cents to produce.

 

HEALTH authorities have closed a bakery selling loaves at just 20 cents.

Most of the 50,000 standard sized ‘barras’ produced each day came from Jose Navarro’s Ribarroja (Valencia) ovens.  They are sold in Gandia, Quart de Poblet, Torrent and Vilamarxant.

Undaunted, Navarro has subcontracted four bakeries in Paterna, Silla and Torrent.  All are small businesses that were on the brink of closing or in financial difficulties.

Navarro is accused by fellow bakers of unfair competition and marketing a loss-leader.

It is impossible for Navarro to bake and sell a barra for 20 cents, insisted the Fegreppa association that represents 680 Valencian bakers.

Ingredients and overheads come to around 40 cents, maintained Fegrippa president, Baltasar Vicente.

Not even the big supermarkets can sell so cheaply,” he said.

The association denies that its members instigated the shut-down.

Meanwhile, sources close to Navarro dismissed the closure.  It was the result of an “administrative formality” regarding extension to the Ribarroja bakery, they claimed. 

But the suspicion remains that rivals “are after us” and behind repeated inspections from the regional government’s Health, Work and Trade departments.

 “Since Navarro started selling the 20 cent bread last year, bakers in Quart de Poblet and Torrent have seen turnover fall by 25 per cent. 

Workers have had to be laid off and some are said to spy on Navarro’s installations to verify that hygiene and employment regulations are scrupulously met.

“Feelings are running high,” admitted a Valencia city baker. 

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