W holemeal bread took a spanking in The Sunday Times recently for having nearly double the level of sugar it did 30 years ago. Shock! Naughty plant bakers are contributing to the obesity epidemic by loading our bread with cheap sugar to make it more palatable and to compensate for salt reductions, it reported. Horror!What it failed to state – and this rather undermined its point – is that sugar is not commonly added to bread in the UK. A glaring error, you might think, and one deserving of the paper in turn being put over our collective knee for a slap.Comparing data from McCance and Widdowson’s (M&W) The Composition of Foods 1978, with a loaf plucked from the shelf – in this case, Hovis, which includes a small amount of brown sugar – the report said that sugar content in wholemeal bread had gone up from 2.1g per 100g in 1978 to 3.7g per 100g in a Hovis wholemeal loaf today. It also cited Sainsbury’s own-label bread, which has 3.5g sugar on the nutrition label.The problem is that the Sainsbury’s loaf, like most other loaves, contains no added sugar. As Joe Street, MD of Fine Lady Bakeries, which doesn’t add sugar to its Tesco own-label bread, nimbly states: “The article looked at one thing [that sugar is added to bread], took it in isolation, and assumed it’s everywhere, which is a load of nonsense.” The starting point for explaining why sugar content appears to have risen should be asking why, if one loaf has added sugar and the other doesn’t, do the two loaves have similar sugar contents on the nutrition label?Firstly, let’s break down the typical 3.5g sugar content in a 100g of wholemeal bread. Flour contains around 2% of naturally occurring sugars. As a rule of thumb, taking a third off that figure would give an approximate level of the sugars in bread – somewhere between 1.3-1.5%. Sugars will always be higher in wholemeal than in white bread, because sugar levels are higher at the junction between the bran and the endosperm.fermentation processThen there’s the fermentation process where the amylase enzyme breaks down starch, a product of which is another sugar – maltose. The fermentation process will actually increase the sugar levels, taking us up to between 2%-2.5%. So much of the sugar content is naturally occurring from the flour and fermentation. Another source of sugars is malt, which is added to dough to help speed the fermentation and to develop a good crust colour in a short time, a soft crust and a moist crumb texture.So what makes up the remainder? The increased use of enzymes potentially producing more maltose in modern no-time dough-making may provide a clue, says cereal scientist Stan Cauvain of bakery consultant Baketran. “I wonder – and I can only say at this stage that it is a wonder – if as a result of using much higher levels of enzymes than we did 30 years ago we’re actually generating more maltose. That is perhaps why levels appear to be much higher.” Indeed, he estimates that alpha amylase enzyme activity has increased tenfold since 1978.Improvements in the way nutritional data is measured may also account for the disparity between sugar levels in 1978 and now. Historically, sugar nutrition content used to be calculated and now it is more scientifically analysed – and more accurate. A suspicion arises from M&W’s figures for bananas, which show that the amount of sugar in a banana rose from 16g to nearly 21g between 1978 and 2002.”Are you telling me that people are breeding bananas to make them more sweet? That’s banana talk!” says Professor Jeya Henry of Oxford Brookes University. “The whole tone of the [Sunday Times] article demonises sugar, in a way that is unfortunate. There is a problem of analytical exactitude in comparing data from 20-odd years ago. There have been huge advances in methodology.”The M&W data for wholemeal in 2002 actually shows 2.8g/100g sugar – way short of the typical 3.5g found in loaves today. There has been no revolution in the plant baking process over the past five years to account for the dispa-rity, says Graham March, MD of Roberts Bakery. “There’s absolutely no reason why [sugar levels] should have changed over time. No recipe change would have created that much difference.”Low levels in breadThe gripe of food campaigners is that more sugar in processed foods is detrimental to people’s health. But even if sugar content in bread had actually doubled, would they be right to point the finger at bread? Federation of Bakers director Gordon Polson points out that sugar levels in bread remain very low. “It has not been an issue that has been raised as one of concern,” he says.Foods that have 10g/100g or more of sugar are considered to be high in sugar, so the current sugar levels in wholemeal are “not a concern”, concurs Lisa Miles, nutrition scientist at The British Nutrition Foundation. “There’s no widespread recommendation to restrict the sugars found naturally in foods, because these foods tend to also provide vitamins, minerals and fibre,” she adds.Sometimes a small amount of sugar is added to wholemeal bread because wholemeal grains are bitter and unpalatable to consumers on their own, British Bakeries says in a statement: “Hovis Wholemeal does contain a small amount of brown sugar, added as much for the flavour generated in baking as for the effect on bitterness. The quantities of sugar added are very small and do not affect the nutritional benefits of the bread.” Meanwhile, bakery writer Dan Lepard says the issue has been overblown: “I wouldn’t have thought that the inclusion of a small amount of brown sugar in Hovis’ loaf was such a scandalous thing, especially when most of it will disappear during the fermentation process, simply leaving the molasses to give a rich warm colour to the crumb and dough.”One thing that can be confidently dispelled is that sugar is being added to wholemeal bread for nefarious reasons. “Nobody is concealing the addition of sugar to bread. It could be a combination of circumstances that gives us higher levels than we saw 30 years ago,” says cereal scientist Cauvain. n
It’s difficult to imagine a world where you couldn’t order groceries, check your bank account, read the news, listen to music or watch your favorite show from the comfort of your smartphone. Perhaps even harder to fathom is that some of these services only hit the mainstream in the last 10-20 years. The world we live in today is a stark contrast to the world of 20 years ago. Banks no longer deliver value by holding gold bullion in vaults, but by providing fast, secure, frictionless online trading. Retailers no longer retain customers by having a store in every town, but by bringing superior customer service with extensive choice and a slick tailored user experience. Video rental shops are a thing of the past, replaced by addictive convenient media streaming services such as Netflix. The list goes on.Delight, Engage, Anticipate, RespondAt the beating heart of this digital convenience is software. A successful software organization can delight customers with superior user experience, can engage its market to determine demand, and can anticipate change – such as regulatory. It also has the means to respond quickly to any risk: security threats, economic flux or competitive threat. In summary, companies are rediscovering their competitive advantage through software and data.How to build good software? Contrary to popular belief, it’s more than just spinning up some microservices. Good software relies on several core pillars being present: abiding by lean management principles; harmonizing Dev and Ops to foster a DevOps culture; employing continuous delivery practices (such as fast iterations, small teams and version control); building software using modern architectures such as microservices; and last but not least, utilizing cloud operating models. Each year, the highly regarded State Of DevOps Report sees continued evidence that delivering software quickly, reliably and safely – based on the pillars mentioned above – contributes to organizational performance (profitability, productivity and customer satisfaction).Per the title, this blog series intends to focus on the cloud pillar. In the context of software innovation, cloud not only provides the Enterprise with agility, elasticity and on-demand self-service but also – if done right — the potential for cost optimization. Cost optimization is paramount to unlocking continued investment in innovation, and when it comes to cloud design, there should be no doubt: architecture matters.Application FirstHow should an organisation define its cloud strategy? Public cloud? Private cloud? Multi-cloud? I’d argue instead for an application first strategy. Applications are an organization’s lifeblood, and an application first strategy is a more practical approach that will direct applications to their most optimal destination. This will then naturally shape any cloud choice. An app first strategy looks to classify applications and map out their lifecycle, allowing organisations to place applications on optimal landing zones – across private, public and edge resources – based on the application’s business value, specific characteristics and any relevant organizational factors.Ultimately seeking affirmation whether to invest in, tolerate or decommission an application, companies can use application classification methodologies to categorize applications. Such categorization determines where (if any) change needs to happen. Change can happen at these three layers:Application LayerPlatform LayerInfrastructure LayerThe most substantial lift, but one with the potential for the most business value, is a change to application code itself, ranging from a complete re-write, to materially altering of code, to the optimization of existing code. For applications which don’t merit source code change, perhaps the value lies in evolving the platform layer. This re-platforming to a new runtime (from virtualized to containerized for example) can unlock efficiencies not possible on the incumbent platform. In the case of applications where the transformation of application code or platform layer may want to be avoided at all costs, modernization of the infrastructure layer could make the most sense, reducing risk, complexity, and TCO. Lastly, the decommissioning of applications at the end of their natural lifecycle is very much a critical piece of this jigsaw. After all, if nothing is ever decommissioned, no savings are made. This combination of re-platforming applications, modernizing infrastructure and decommissioning applications is crucial in freeing up investment for software innovation.Landing ZonesWhere an application ultimately lands depends on its own unique characteristics and any relevant organisational factors. Characteristics include the application’s performance profile, security needs, compliance requirements and any specific dependencies to other services. These diverse requirements across an Enterprise’s application estate, give rise to the concept of multi-cloud Landing Zones across Private, Public and Edge locations.Cloud ChaosDue to this need for landing zones, the industry has begun to standardize on a multi-cloud approach — and rightly so. Every application is different, and a multi-cloud model permits access to best-of-breed services across all clouds. Unfortunately, the multi-cloud approach does bring with it a myriad of challenges. For example, public clouds deliver native services in proprietary formats, often necessitating the need for costly and sometimes unnecessary re-platforming. The need to re-skill a workforce compounds these challenges, as do the complex financials created by a multi-cloud model due to inconsistent SLA constructs across different providers. Lack of workload portability is another critical concern due to the previously mentioned proprietary format. This is further exacerbated by proprietary security and networking stacks, often resulting in lock-in and increased costs.Cloud Without Chaos Dell Technologies Cloud is not a single public cloud, rather a hybrid cloud framework which delivers consistent infrastructure and consistent operations, regardless of location. It is unique in the industry with its capability of running both VMware VMs and next-generation container-based applications consistently, irrespective of whether the location is private, public or edge. This consistent experience is central to enabling workload mobility, which itself is key to flexibility, agility and avoidance of lock-in.Through combined Dell Technologies and VMware innovation, core services such as hypervisor, developer stacks, data protection, networking and security, are consistent across private, public and edge locations. Dell Technologies Cloud reduces the need for complicated and costly re-platforming activities associated with migration to a new cloud provider’s native proprietary services. Nonetheless, for organisations wishing to leverage native public cloud services, they can still do so while also benefiting from proximity to VMware-related public cloud services.Consistent operations also reduce the strain on precious talent, by allowing companies to capitalize on existing skillsets. Organizations can consistently manage applications – regardless of location – and avoid the costly financial implications of re-skilling staff each time they choose a new cloud provider.Looking at this from the lens of the developer and with modern applications in mind, thankfully, container standards span the industry, which mitigates the need for wholesale container format changes between clouds. Despite this, each cloud provider has an opinion on the ecosystem (container networking, container security, logging, service mesh, etc.) around containers in their native offerings, such as CaaS and PaaS. This bias can precipitate the need for tweaks and edits each time an application is to be moved to another cloud, effectively burning developer cycles. Instead, an organization can maximize developer productivity by employing turnkey, cloud-agnostic developer solutions, which are operationalized and ready for the Enterprise. The developer can write their application once and run it anywhere, without tweaks or edits required to suit a new cloud provider’s stack.At the other end of the application scale, most Enterprise organizations own a significant portion of non-cloud-ready, non-virtualized workloads such as bare-metal and unstructured data. Through Dell Technologies extensive portfolio, these workloads are fully supported on various platforms and never considered an afterthought.Likewise, a critical element of any organization’s cloud investment is its strategy around cloud data protection. Dell Technologies Data Protection Solutions covers all hybrid cloud protection use cases from in-cloud backup, backup between clouds, long-term retention to the cloud, DR to cloud and cloud-native protection.Increased Agility, Improved Economics & Reduced Risk Ultimately, Dell Technologies Cloud delivers increased business agility through self-service, automation and the unique proposition of true portability across private, public and edge locations. This agile, flexible and resilient foundation can enable Enterprise organizations to accelerate software innovation and in turn, quicken time-to-market.In addition to the business agility and workload mobility gained from this consistent hybrid cloud model, companies can also improve cloud economics, as well as leverage multiple consumption options, irrespective of cloud location. Any modernization offers mitigation of business risk through eliminating technical debt, minimizing operational complexities and bypassing unknown and inconsistent future financials.