If You See a Blue Twist Tie on Your Bread Bag, This Is What It Means

Updated: Jun. 26, 2024

That twist tie on your bread bag can tell you a lot about your loaf.


Even if your bread-baking has continued beyond the long days of pandemic lockdown, sometimes you still find yourself in need of a loaf on short notice. It’s time to brush up on your supermarket tricks for shopping smarter and head down the bakery aisle. Maybe you’re looking for a rustic sourdough to eat with scrambled eggs (did you know you can eat the bumpy ones?) or a springy brioche for French toast or a really great sandwich. But with shelf after shelf of beautiful breads on offer, how can you find the best loaf? You can do your best to judge by color, looking for a golden brown crust, but color isn’t always clear—just think of the mysterious yellow cap you sometimes see on Coca-Cola bottles. You can try and smell the bread through its plastic or paper wrapping, or give it a gentle squeeze to test for crackle and give. But there’s a much, much easier way to determine the freshness of your bread: Simply look at the twist tie!

See the rainbow

Turns out, the color of the twist tie or plastic tag on your bread can tell you how fresh your loaf is. Usually, commercial bread is baked and delivered on a strict schedule, leaving the oven and arriving on your supermarket shelf five days a week. The color of the fastening on your bread bag indicates the day of the week the bread was baked. Bakeries usually have Wednesdays and Sundays off, so there’s only five colors to remember, just like for milk label colors. The color system helps the staff in the store rotate fresh bread in and older loaves out, so you’ll probably only see two colors of twist ties in the bread aisle on any given day. And don’t be fooled: If there’s a date on the bread tag too, it’s not the baking date; it’s the “sell by” date.

Bread Tie Color Guide 1200x1200sydney watson/rd.com

Taste the rainbow

Bakers have Wednesdays and Sundays off, remember, so if you’re a freshoholic, you might want to avoid buying bread on those days. For the freshest bread, check out the (not-so-secret) color codes:

  • Monday – blue
  • Tuesday – green
  • Thursday – red
  • Friday – white
  • Saturday – yellow

There’s an easy way to remember this at the grocery store: The colors are in alphabetical order by day of the week.

This certainly isn’t a foolproof system; your local bakery may have its own method of determining freshness. But even if you happen to come across a slightly stale loaf, you can just consider it an invitation to whip up a pan of bread pudding. This color code is widely used at commercial bread bakeries across the country. Next time you’re at the grocery store, take a detour down the bakery aisle and see if your local market subscribes to the color system. It’s nice to have one mystery solved! Next, check out what those colored circles on food packages mean.


  • Business Insider: “There’s a secret code behind the color of those twist ties”

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home