Fueled by consumer demand, Otis Spunkmeyer rolled out its No Funky Stuff platform, removing all artificial colors and flavors, high-fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils.
In an era of general consumer mistrust, transparency has become a real motivator.

We are an information-driven society that seeks the narrative in all places. Think about how much weight a simple Facebook photo can carry. Not to mention, we’re also a viral society, so one simple image can go a long way — further than any of us could have imagined just 10 years ago — reaching global proportions. That goes not just for images but the words we say as well.

Today, people want the story. And they’ll get one whether you offer it or not — even if they have to write it themselves — so telling the truth has never been more important.

The baked goods you make and sell can no longer speak for themselves; your customers and consumers expect you to speak for them. People want to know where their food comes from, and that applies to anything from the ingredient list to the company’s story.

Just look at Los Angeles-based Otis Spunkmeyer, this month’s plant feature. As it celebrates its 40th anniversary, the iconic cookie brand is also rolling out its No Funky Stuff platform for which it has removed all artificial colors and flavors, high-fructose corn syrup, and partially hydrogenated oils. The two-year journey toward No Funky Stuff foods was one that, at times, felt like an insurmountable task, according to Jonathan Davis, senior vice-president of R&D for ARYZTA, Otis Spunkmeyer’s parent company.

For the cookie company, the commitment was real and one that Mr. Davis took quite seriously, despite the brand’s fun reputation. Now, No Funky Stuff is as much a part of the Otis Spunkmeyer story as its decades-long history that began with the late Ken Rawlings and his daughter Kimberly, who helped name the company when she was just a tween.

Otis Spunkmeyer isn’t the only company keeping it real. Denise Morrison, president and CEO, Campbell Soup Co., Camden, NJ, recently referred to Campbell, which also owns the Pepperidge Farm brand, as “a ­purpose-driven company” when she addressed investors in July. The company has a new mantra: “Real food that matters for life’s moments.” Transparency is a huge part of that, and consumers can find the proof on Campbell’s websitewww.whatsinmyfood.com.

So, as a bakery manufacturer, what’s in your food? Do your customers and consumers know your story, or are you leaving them to write their own? Blanks cannot be the space where consumers live … face it, it’s time to get real.