Cash-strapped Thames families are up in arms after cheap loaves of healthy bread have disappeared off supermarket shelves leaving budget loaves health authorities say should be avoided.
The Coromandel Peninsula town's Pak'nSave has removed the affordable $1 multigrain bread from its shelves, leaving white loaves as the only cost-saving option for customers juggling tight household budgets.
The move has upset many in the community who don't have a lot of money for food and feel let down by the town's only supermarket that prides itself on having the country's lowest food prices.
They say it is stopping them from feeding their families a healthy diet, as well as going against Ministry of Health good diet guidelines.
Thames mum Cathie Williams said she was dismayed the multigrain loaves were no longer available for customers trying to eat healthily while still juggling a strict budget.
The multigrain loaf was a lifesaver for her family. Her young son Alex suffered from a chronic eating disorder and the inexpensive multigrain bread was best for his diet and her purse.
She said the more expensive brands of multigrain bread were beyond what she could afford.
In a community Facebook post Williams took the supermarket to task, saying in the struggle to feed kids a healthy diet on a budget the only cheap option left was full of sugar.
"That bread was a lifesaver for us low-income families.
"I'm sure there are other parents that are going to miss this great bread," she said.
She told the Herald her situation was echoed by many other families in the community who voiced their support on social media to have the cheap multigrain loaf put back on the store's shelves.
"He's got us all because we've got nowhere to go," she said.
But the owner of Thames Pak'nSave said the decision was about the bottom line.
"There were absolutely commercial reasons for doing it," he said. "Primarily we've been losing money on that loaf for some time."
A Pak'nSave spokeswoman said because the stores are individually owned and operated, every store had a different mix of bread available.
"The Thames store has taken the decision not to continue stocking the $1 multigrain bread as it's not sustainable for the store and its supplier. The $1 white loaf remains popular with the local community and there are no plans to remove it."
Other supermarkets seem to be following suit.
A Morrinsville woman told the Herald both the New World and fruit shop in the town only stocked $1 loaves of white bread, which made it costly to feed her five children healthier sammies.
Another Herald reader said Hamilton's Mill St Pak'nSave store took away multigrain bread a few months ago.
The Ministry of Health guidelines to healthy eating advise against eating white bread but to opt for higher-fibre, dense wholegrain bread.
It says eating a wide variety of healthy foods is important for your child's wellbeing, growth and development and says it is best to choose wholegrain instead of white breads.