Stonemill breads letter

Stonemill Bakehouse withdraws packaging for gender-based breads

Pink and green-coloured bread bags for Stonemill's new wellness breads drew fire

Stonemill Bakehouse has withdrawn its controversial pink and green labelled gender-based breads, after the products came under fire from some consumers in January.

A note from the company’s president has been posted on the website saying that Stonemill will still sell the breads, but with different labels because of concerns their marketing offended customers.

In January, as part of Stonemill’s Wellbeing line, the company released products promoted specifically to have different health benefits specific to men and to women.

Nam Dinh, a nutrition student at the University of Toronto, acknowledges that health needs are different for men and women and says while marketing isn’t his forte, Stonemill’s gender-based products do address those needs.

“In regards to nutrition value, the amount of protein and fibre are the same for both breads. The differences are the women’s bread is higher in calcium, vitamin D, and iron. While the men’s bread is higher in zinc and magnesium,” Dinh said.

But health standpoint aside, the gender separation in bakery products really angered a lot of consumers.

Dorian Lebreux is a researcher at York University, specializing in social justice with an interest in gender studies. She feels Stonemill made a marketing mistake by using pink labels for the women’s product.

“Companies face pressure to try and reach as many people as possible and so they sort of distil their message to the most basic idea about women, for example, or me. Like, men like flashy cars, women like pink. The problem is that, that doesn’t actually reflect the reality of how we’re living today,” Lebreux said.

A note from the president of Stonemill posted on the company website says that, “Our intention when creating the Wellbeing breads was to support the unique and different needs of men and women. We worked under the guidance of a registered dietician to identify the specific nutrients men and women require on a daily basis and what they may fall short on.”

Stonemill said it “appreciat[ed] and respect[ed] our customer concerns over the marketing of the product and have therefore decided to remove any gender specific labelling.”

The products will still be available for purchase, but with new labels.

See the full letter from Stonemill Bakehouse here: