Consumers will define freshness

Clean label emerged as the one of the top trends at the Institute of Food Technologists Food Expo in Chicago. Innova Market Insights, for example, noted that 73% of consumers agree that it is important that most of the ingredients on a food label are things they recognize and would use at home. And 28% claim that clean label is a factor that influences their purchasing decisions when shopping for foods or beverages across all categories.

Consumer trends also include fresh and local. It makes you wonder why Hostess rolled out packaged bread and buns with a two-month shelf life. We bought buns on June 18 with a sell-by date of Aug. 6.

Counterintuitive to the clean label movement and like anything that contains enriched flour with its laundry list of supplemental nutrients, the ingredient legend certainly included a lot more than flour, water, yeast and salt.

Granted, the products were bought at a drug store chain where shoppers typically don’t look at sell-by dates. Likewise, most bread products are typically eaten within a week. Certainly, the bread and buns were really, really soft. But then there’s this message from the company, stated on the back of the package: “We’re proud to extend our rich heritage of baking delicious, wholesome products with this new assortment of fresh bakery bread.” Ultimately, freshness is defined by the consumer.