Fresh from the oven: How IMCD created a quality, clean-label bakery solution


As more customers search for clean-label products, bakery items like breads and buns pose a challenge—and an opportunity—for food manufacturers. Tapping into the power of innovation and collaboration, IMCD stepped up to provide a quality solution unlike anything else on the market.

While “clean label” is positioned as a major market trend, the term itself is broad and non-specific. In 2020, over a quarter of all new food and beverage launches featured a clean-label claim, including “GMO-free,” “natural,” “organic,” and “no additives/preservatives.” 

“Clean label” often points to customers’ desire for transparency, primarily in choosing items that contain the fewest possible ingredients, which should all be easy for the average person to pronounce and identify. At the same time, consumer expectations around transparency and clean label don’t necessarily outweigh their interest in good value. While some may be willing to pay a premium, others are not. 

To position a product as clean-label, a manufacturer has to either adapt the product formulation and its brand positioning, or develop a new product. The key to success is collaborating with formulation experts who understand the different countries’ regulatory constraints on labelling, while also leveraging the latest consumer insights. Read more about clean label here.

Baking up a challenge

World Baking Day is celebrated today, May 17, 2022, so to mark this international date, IMCD is recognizing its innovative clean-label solution for a key bakery customer.

IMCD’s customer has close ties to one of the largest retailers in North America and supplies them on a national level. This end retailer is very aware of market trends and plays a hands-on role with the brands it sells, especially because it positions many of its offerings as premium products.

When they approached IMCD, the customer and retailer set out specific requirements. The project started as an effort to extend shelf life of the customer’s bread products to reduce waste and contribute to sustainability without compromising quality. In time, the project evolved and developed into a request for a non-hydrogenated version to meet the market’s demands for cleaner label ingredients and customer and retailer requirements.

This request posed a technical challenge: In order to ensure consistent product quality, the solution could not affect the leavening of the breads and buns. It also involved a supply chain challenge as the customer looked to increase volume, as well as the market challenge of finding a cost-effective course of action.

Ultimately, the project required an innovative custom solution.

Collaboration in innovation

To produce a solution that met the cleaner label requirements while offering an extended shelf life, this project required strong technical expertise and on-site trials to ensure the solution performed in unique manufacturing conditions.

Understanding the power of collaboration, IMCD teamed up with a supplier partner that is an expert in quality shelf-life solutions and is continuously pushing the boundaries of their ingredient technology development. This project helped expedite their innovation for a state-of-the-art ingredient solution.

IMCD also involved its technical team of ingredient experts and application specialists to test and troubleshoot solutions, as well as its supply chain and logistics team to ensure they could meet volume needs in a cost-effective way. 

Significantly, IMCD collaborated very closely with its customer during the process, working as an extension of the customer’s technical team and a trusted value-add partner.

With so many areas to address, the process involved many moving parts and ongoing persistence. Open communication and tremendous support on all fronts made the project’s success possible.

A fresh-baked solution

As a result of IMCD’s technical expertise, strong supplier partnerships and customer collaboration, the team was able to provide both a hydrogenated and non-hydrogenated solution to meet all of the customer requirements and volume demands.

“This solution exceeded our customer’s expectations and showcased our advanced clean label ingredient technology, positioning us as a trusted partner for future innovation,” says Abigail Bhoorasingh, Technical Account Manager.

This new solution proved to be consistent in quality even at scale. The advanced ingredient technology does not leach during mixing, which would hinder how the bread rises and require more yeast to be added to the formulation. 

Instead, the solution offers a superior product quality and consistency through state-of-art ingredients customized for the customer’s requirements. IMCD is confident in the technology they can supply, offering a quality, clean-label solution unique to the market.

"The ability for IMCD to provide a non-hydrogenated solution for our customer, in an encapsulate that is unmatched in quality by competition, demonstrates our commitment to best-in-class product solutions as well as our partnerships with world-renowned Principal partners,” says Randy Jones, Principal Manager.

The solution also increased the products’ shelf life from 14 days to 21 days, allowing for cost savings, less waste, greater supply chain flexibility, and a sustainable solution. It meets cleaner label demands from the end retailer, ultimately strengthening IMCD’s partnership with its Principal and with its customer as their technical partner.

Thanks to this innovation, the customer has the solution they need as a market differentiator. As a result, they have been able to grow their business with the end customer by offering a unique solution that delivers on market trends and meets quality standards.


To learn more about cleaner label formulations and more sustainable solutions, download the trends report “Clean Label Goes Global” or contact IMCD. IMCD’s team of experts is specialized in supporting customers to overcome their challenges and creating a world of opportunity.