Bread Friends


The Bread Friends Bootleg Series

Introducing the “Bread Friends Bootleg Series,” a monthly-ish installment of garments inspired by baking and the world that revolves around it.

This first round digs into the advertising archives and pulls references from V-10 Protein Bread— a trivial concept sold in grocery stores across the midwest in the late 50s (for more on that, scroll down). We’ve got a cozy long-sleeve tee shirt with designs on the front and back. We’ve also made a durable canvas tote that will safely hold at least five baguettes on your walk home from your local boulangerie.

All proceeds from the Bread Friends Bootleg series will go to organizations fighting to end hunger. This first round benefits NourishKC, a non-profit in Kansas City fighting food insecurity through their community kitchen, culinary training, and food rescue program.

More on V-10 Protein Bread

Why V-10? I’ve been finding inspiration lately by digging into the archives and taking a look at bread ads from years past. It's amusing to see what sort of slogan or spin advertisers thought would incentivize consumers to run to the store and grab a new loaf for their bologna sandwiches. It's a reference point— and sometimes it's a guide on what not to do in 2021.

First produced in the late fifties by a Minnesota bakery, V-10 Protein Bread rode Jack Lalanne's coattails as he juiced, jogged and curled his way around the country (rest in peace, king), selling a loaf of bread to fitness freaks containing complete, natural protein— equal to that "found in meat and dairy foods."

V-10 claimed that "two slices per meal give you one-fourth of your daily protein need." Running the numbers on this, that's:

2 slices per meal x 3 meals per day x 3.7 people (the average 1950s household size) = 22 slices per day

The average loaf of bread contains 20-24 slices, meaning that to get one-fourth of your daily protein need every day, the average household would go through a single loaf of bread each day — SEVEN LOAVES EACH WEEK.

You've got to respect the grift, whether or not there was any truth to their claims. And in the likely event that V-10 exaggerated these health benefits, I still love the idea of "science and the baking industry" joining forces like Voltron to get you absolutely jacked.

Their original ads really harped on the science behind the bread. V-10 legitimized the formula by working with the same "organization that developed the process for putting Vitamin D in milk"— does anyone still drink Vitamin D milk, or have you moved on to oat milk, too?

At some point, though, V-10 lost the plot and dumped the nerdy science angle for a new mascot: some sort of Hawaiian Tinkerbell who plays the trumpet? I'm honestly not sure who they were trying to appeal to with this one, but I guess this strategy didn't pan out either— V-10 was out of production by the late sixties. And the world learned a valuable lesson: you can't sell a product on the premise of protein alone. Ah! Well, nevertheless...