This Is the Real Reason Supermarkets Sell Bread in Brown Bags

It’s not to be environmentally friendly!

Different fresh bread, on old wooden tableAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Paper or plastic? We bet you’re used to hearing this question at the grocery store. In the past few years, more people have been choosing paper at the checkout line to be more environmentally conscious, but one section of the grocery store has been choosing paper for a long time: the bakery section. Grocery store bread is typically displayed in brown paper bags. And, believe it or not, there’s actually a specific reason they do that—and, no, it’s not to make it look like a French bakery. You need to know these secret grocery shopping tips.

It has to do with freshness. “[Storing the bread in paper bags] keeps the air on the bread allowing the crust to stay deliciously crisp,” says David Cummings, the Bakery Buyer at Fairway Market. If you store bread in a plastic bag, the moisture within the bread gets trapped in the bag causing the crust to become mushy. Make sure you don’t fall for these supermarket tricks.

Some think that stores sell bread in paper bags because it makes the loaf go stale faster, causing you to have to go back to buy more bread. However, bread that is displayed in brown bags is meant to be eaten within a day or two of purchasing it, not stored in your cabinet for a few days. That’s why you see sandwich bread displayed in plastic because it’s meant to last a bit longer.

If you know that you’re not going to have a chance to eat your bread within two days, just throw it in the freezer and thaw when you’re ready to enjoy. Now that you know about bread, read about these other things your grocer won’t tell you.

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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Assistant Digital Managing Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. When she’s not writing for or keeping the 650+ pieces of content our team produces every month organized, she likes watching HGTV, going on Target runs, and searching through Instagram to find new corgi accounts to follow.