What Do the Different Bread Tag Colors Mean?

Those colorful tags and twist ties don't just keep your bread fresh — they also have an important meaning.

Mixture of colored best date tags used on bread bags
Photo: Ross Gordon Henry/Shutterstock

Anyone who has ever bought bread before has likely seen the colorful tags or twist ties that seal the bag — and if you're like us, you maybe even kept a drawer full of them to secure other bags later. But did you know that those bread tags serve another purpose beyond just keeping your bread fresh?

The colors of the tag actually tell you how fresh the bread at your grocery store or bakery is. It may sound crazy, but the different colors actually correspond to the day of the week that the bread was baked and placed on shelves.

What Do the Bread Tag Colors Mean?

While the different colors are mostly there to help employees know when to refresh the bread on the shelves, knowing what the bread tags and ties symbolize can also help you shop smarter. While there isn't a universal schedule for the coordinating colors, this is the schedule that most grocery stores use:

Monday: Blue
Tuesday: Green
Thursday: Red
Friday: White
Saturday: Yellow

There is no corresponding color for Wednesdays and Sundays because many bakeries take those days off from production.

We know memorizing that schedule can be hard and pulling out your phone to look it up every time you're at the grocery store can be tedious, so luckily, there's an easy way to remember it. The schedule actually goes in alphabetical order. On Monday (the first day of the week) it's blue, on Tuesday (the second day of the week) it's green, and so on.

How To Choose the Freshest Loaf of Bread

Now that you know this tag secret, use it to pick out the freshest bread every time you shop. When looking for a loaf, always try to pick one that was baked and packaged that same day or the day before. Try not to go more than two days out from the baking day — unless you're planning on using it immediately or making a recipe that calls for stale bread.

For example, if you're shopping on a Friday, look for a white or red tag on the bread and steer clear of any yellow or blue tags. Sometimes you'll get lucky and see a colored tag that also has a best-by date on it. If that's the case, opt for the freshest loaf with the latest best-by date.

It's also important to note that this schedule applies to freshly baked bread that's either made in-house or brought in from a bakery. Your Pepperidge Farm or Nature's Own bread probably won't follow this pattern. However, some manufacturers might follow a different pattern too. So, when in doubt, always look for the best-by date somewhere on the bag (or even on the tag.)

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