Jewish bakers unworried about Robert De Niro-touted 'mass-produced' bagels

Competitors aren't intimidated by Warburtons' 'GoodBagels' advert starring two-time Oscar winner


Warburtons might have enlisted the help of Hollywood legend Robert De Niro to launch its new bagel range and even acquired a kosher licence — but it is not enough to get Jewish bakers quaking in their boots about the competition.

The Bolton-based company enlisted the help of the two-time Oscar winner, best known for his roles in Goodfellas, Raging Bull and the Godfather Part II, to play a combination of his gangster parts in the advert, which has been titled “GoodBagels”.

In the advert De Niro and his mob attempt to sabotage Warburtons’ bagel sales in favour of their New York products.

But the founder of Carmelli Bakeries in Golders Green, North-West London said she will not be going to the same lengths to compete with Warburtons’ “mass-produced” bagel.

It is “nowhere near a like-for-like comparison” to the traditional Jewish bagel, Janice Carmelli said. “I haven’t tasted one but Warburtons bagels will be mass produced and full of preservatives so they have a longer shelf life.

“Ours are made traditionally in the mixer and then are boiled and baked on a mahogany board. It is labour intensive and they are served to the customer hot out of the oven.”

Warburtons Plain and Cinnamon and Raisin Bagels have been certified by the Kosher London Beth Din.

Ms Carmelli said “the customer would decide what product they prefer”, but she is not worried that the kosher licence will tempt Jewish bagel fans away.

But Tami Isaacs Pearce, owner and artisan baker at Karma Bread in South Hampstead, has a slightly different view.: “These bagels are going to fly. I expect they will do very well.”

Ms Pearce, who makes traditional Jewish bagels without a kosher licence, said: “Every Jew in north London will buy them. As a community we don’t discriminate against brands and we don’t mind changing.”

She does not think the average Jewish shopper cares much about the “authenticity” of a bagel although she insists she won’t be trying one.

“There is no reason for me to try one. They are mass-produced and processed and you lose the authenticity when you mass produce them.”

In Manchester, closer to where Warburtons is based, Andrew Addleman of kosher bakery Brackmans thinks the new bagel is product is a good thing.

“I loved the advert. I thought it was really funny and I think the more people eating bagels the better. I think it might boost my sales, if anything. People will want to taste the real thing.”

When it comes to quality, “supermarket bagels are never going to be as good as what I am doing,” he added.

“I make mine from a recipe handed down the family through generations. You can’t beat the taste of a fresh bagel out of the oven.”

Peyman Hakimi, owner of Daniel’s Bakery, in North-West London, said it was not the first time a supermarket product had attempted to mass produce a traditional Jewish food staple and “it won’t be the last.”

He said: “I think Jewish shoppers will stick to the traditional products. We sell hot fresh bagels all through the day. We’re not interested in preservatives or prolonging the shelf life. You buy them to eat them.”

Warburtons chairman Jonathan Warburton, who starred in the advert as himself alongside De Niro, said he always wanted to make a bagel product.

He said: “We’ve spent months perfecting the recipe and process to ensure we delight families up and down the country with the best thing since sliced bread.”

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