Clean label a trend, not a fad

by Dan Malovany
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Panera Bread’s initiative to clean up its formulas has added to the momentum of the clean label trend.

Like it or not, clean label has become more of a trend than a fad, according to Theresa Cogswell, contributing editor for Baking & Snack magazine. In 2013, multiple network television news programs featured a popular Web blogger, Vani Hari, a.k.a. the Food Babe, taking a bite out of a yoga mat. She stated the yoga mat contained azodicarbonamide (A.D.A.), a material used to stabilize the foam structure of the mat.

“In sensational fashion, she made the leap to A.D.A.’s use in bread, asking how could it be good for you to eat if it is found in yoga mats?” Ms. Cogswell noted in the June issue of Baking & Snack. “This created a reformulation tsunami for the entire baking industry. Bakers and ingredient companies scrambled to find functional, economical replacements for the ingredient that also helped to stabilize the bubble structure in the bread matrix.”

More recently, Ms. Cogswell added, the Food Babe took credit for Panera Bread’s initiative to clean up its formulas.

“Call me a bit surprised — or not, maybe I just let out a groan — when I went to the Food Babe’s web site, only to find her taking credit for moving Panera to action,” Ms. Cogswell said. “Wow, is she a powerful woman!”

Check out Ms. Cogswell June column for her insights and a healthy — but refreshing — dose of her signature sarcasm.
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