Making the switch to clean label bakery products


02 November 2023



Transitioning to clean label formulations may increase product appeal, but consumers still expect their baked goods to deliver the same eating experience and shelf life. We explain what needs to be considered. 


From croissants and cakes to cookies and confection, baked goods made with kitchen cupboard ingredients will always be a crowd pleaser. Yet, making the transition to clean label formulations on a commercial scale raises several important issues that need to be addressed to ensure a successful outcome. 

Shelf life


Perhaps one of the most important factors is shelf life. Although consumers accept that home bakes need to be eaten within a short timeframe, the same rules do not apply to shop bought treats which need to last much longer.


To meet this demand – and avoid unnecessary and costly food waste – manufacturers commonly use preservatives to ensure product quality is maintained to the end of its stated shelf-life.


By adding preservatives to bread dough, for instance, formulators can create a shelf life that allows the finished product to reach and be enjoyed by the consumer before going mouldy.  Similarly, cake formulations often benefit from humectants which not only help to prevent water loss and maintain a moist texture, but also extend shelf life by reducing the risk of mould growth. 




Processing efficiency


Many ingredients are specified to improve key aspects of the manufacturing process and even improve overall productivity. Take dough conditioners, for example. These multi-functional ingredients ensure batch-to-batch consistency, speed up the proofing process, improve gluten strength and make the dough easier to manage – all of which contributes to greater efficiency and output.





Stabilisers, emulsifiers, thickeners and other ingredients are also used to improve stability of the raw mixture. Why? Because this impacts the bake, sensory qualities and even the nutritive value of baked goods.

A sponge cake mixture, for instance, is a complex matrix of emulsified fats, sugar and air. The air bubbles provide both volume and texture, so any reduction will lead to a flat, dense and disappointing cake – rather than the light and fluffy indulgence consumers expect.



Clean label success


This level of complexity doesn’t mean clean label ambitions can’t be realised. But it does underline the importance of fully understanding how different clean label ingredients will impact your final product. Only then can you identify the right solution for your concept.


How can RSSL help?

Our experienced team of physical and material scientists will analyse your clean label concept. First bite, bounce, crumb structure and moisture content are just some of the properties we evaluate to ensure product quality is maintained throughout shelf life. This data is then interpreted and brought to life by our talented product development experts and tested through informal sensory tastings. 


Wondering how to develop a successful clean label product? Click through to find out more or complete the form below. 

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