What is Hollywood Bread?

By Samuel Phineas Upham

Hollywood bread was a concoction that took the country by storm during the 1940s. It was a bread designed to help overweight women continue to eat bread, but lose weight in the process. One article about the bread called it “new bread that overcomes most objections on reducing diets.” The bread included eight nonfattening vegetables, whole wheat, and plenty of necessary vitamins and minerals.
This story sounds like it could be plucked out of today’s headlines, especially from supermarket tabloids.

Except that 24 years later, the FTC ordered the trademark holder to cease misrepresenting its product.
The company was built on the name of Eleanor Hansberry, who had a relatable sob story. She was a growing girl, outwards not upwards, and she began to wonder whether anyone had attempted a low fat version of bread. She approached a health food company with the idea, and they combined “parsley, celery, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, artichoke, lettuce and pumpkin.” Then a “smidge of seaweed,” which accounted for only 5% of the bread loaf. The rest consisted of flour, honey, skim milk, molasses, and malt. None of the portion sizes were ever publicly given, sorry health foodies, but the FTC concluded the creation of the bread was not based in scientific fact.

Hollywood bread enjoyed a short revival in the 70s, but it was gone by the 1980s. As it turned out, Eleanor Hansberry never baked a loaf of bread in her life. The FTC ruling that the bread had fewer calories than standard white bread had more to do with slice thickness, than actual science. The true copyright holders, National Bakers Services, Inc., had to cease production and the trademark died.

About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Samuel Phineas Upham website or LinkedIn.

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