What do the different colored labels on your bread actually mean?

For the correct answer, I went straight to the source.

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If you buy a lot of bread, chances are your kitchen junk drawer looks a bit like mine: littered with colorful plastic labels once used to hold old-fashioned loaves. These bread tags (also called bread tabs, bread clips, bread clips, or bread loops) are usually a quadrilateral with a hole on one side that is used to hold the bread bag closed. Some are printed with dates, prices or indecipherable numerical codes, while others are completely blank.

What do these labels tell us about the bread they accompany? After a deep dive into the internet filled with conflicting information, I’ve discovered some helpful tips that might help you select the freshest bread from your grocery store. (Spoiler: you’ll have to do a little investigation on your own!)

Bread labels by writer Lena Abraham.

What bread labels do NOT mean

Let’s start by debunking the oft-reported notion that the color of bread labels indicates what day of the week the bread was baked. A blue label for baked bread on Monday, a green label for Tuesday, a red for Wednesday, etc. You can see an example of this color-coding on Snopes, a private fact-checking website.

As Snopes reports, this color-coding system is apparently used to help grocery store workers easily identify breads that have been on the shelves too long and need to be replaced with fresher bread. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. This color code is not an industry standard, nor is it regulated. Each bakery has its own labeling system which may or may not coincide with the days of the week shown on this chart. Also, he assumes bakeries deliver five days a week, most don’t. For this reason, there is no guarantee that you can locate the freshest bread using this coding system.

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Simple Recipes / Getty Images

How to know what the colored tags mean

Fortunately, with a little research, there is East a way for you to decipher the meaning of these tags. First, you can talk to an employee at your local grocery store to find out their bread storage methods. Many stores rotate their inventory every few days so baked goods are always fresh.

However, since each brand of bread uses its own labeling system, chances are the employee won’t be able to give you a simple answer to identify which bread is the freshest just by looking at the bread labels. .

The real surefire way to know for sure what the various colored tags actually mean is to go straight to the source. Call the company you buy bread from (their phone number is usually right on the bag or on their website) and ask them what their bread labels say.

After doing this I learned that my favorite brand of bread only uses white labels and each one is printed with the expiration date. I thought that was the date the bread was baked! And that’s how I found out that I always buy it the day it expires. With this new information, I headed straight for the kitchen to slice and freeze my bread before it went stale. The more you know, the more you save!

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