02.Is your bread baked fresh?
In 2012, a ruckus erupted when it was revealed that Coles “freshly baked in-store” bread was actually par-baked bread made in Ireland.
Par-baking is when bread is baked to around 80-90% completion, snap frozen and transported to the store, where it is baked for the final 10%. Often there is no difference in ingredients, but par-baked bread’s freshness starts to decline after about six hours.
Larger supermarkets with in-store bakeries make most simple products like bread rolls and loaves from scratch on-site daily - and these often have labels showing the date and time baked - while trickier specialty breads tend to be made off-site and par-baked.
ACCC weighs in on “fresh-baked” claims
In June 2013, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Coles, accusing the supermarket of misleading consumers about its par-baked products.
“We believe consumers are likely to have been misled by Coles that the entire baking process, including preparation, occurred in-store, when in fact the bakery products were prepared and partially baked off-site, frozen, transported and then ‘finished’ in store,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said. “Indeed, the Cuisine Royale products were partially baked overseas.”
The ACCC believes this “lack of distinction in its promotional representations between bread products that are freshly prepared from scratch and par-baked products is misleading to consumers and places competing bakeries that do freshly bake from scratch at a competitive disadvantage.”
Proceedings are due to start in August this year. Watch this space.