Grocery Store Guru

All about the grocery industry, from a store level perspective.

I want Bakery products that aren’t frozen!

As more and more bakery products move to a thaw and serve format, many customers want products that they consider “fresh”.

My first reaction is always “Why?”

If you take something frozen home, you control the “best before” date. You can thaw the items one at a time, to make the package last as long as possible and ensuring you don’t throw away moldy baked goods. If you get home and realize you already had a package of whatever it was you bought, you can keep it in the freezer so the whole package doesn’t spoil. Heck, even if you thaw the whole thing right away, you are getting the longest possible time between thaw and spoil – there’s no time lost to sitting on the bakery department shelves, waiting to be bought.

Still, there are customers out there that want the “fresh” product. Sometimes it’s for convenience, and I get that. But for many people, there’s some idea in their heads that fresh bread is better, or a higher quality product.

I hate to tell this to those people – most stores are doing exactly what you would do with your frozen baguette. I can’t even think of a conventional grocery store that’s making their own baguettes from scratch anymore. The baguettes come in either par-baked (so the store can put the frozen baguette in the store’s oven, to finish them off) or fully baked (so the store can let the frozen baguette thaw and sell it as fresh). Both the stores and the companies that make the bread know that some people want fresh product, so they don’t advertise the fact, either. Because there’s no food safety danger when re-freezing bread (or even thawing it and re-freezing it several times), there’s no packaging standard that demands labeling for previously frozen bakery products.

A short and really incomplete list of store brand products I haven’t seen baked in a conventional grocery store for at least 10 years, not including bread:

  • tea biscuits
  • scones
  • cookies
  • muffins
  • brownies
  • danishes

These days, the only place you’re guaranteed to get a fresh bakery product is an actual bakery.

My advice – don’t let a “fresh vs. frozen” debate sway your buying decision… leave that to the final product. The technology required to properly freeze food has been around for a while, and there’s not really a difference between properly frozen food and fresh.

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February 19, 2012 - Posted by | Products

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