Pei Wei takes menu transparency to the next level because ‘consumers have the right to know what’s in their food’
Dallas, TX (RestaurantNews.com) Know what you won’t find in Pei Wei’s Wei Better Orange Chicken?
“UNCOOKED, BATTERED CHICKEN DARK MEAT CHUNKS. KEEP FROZEN.”
“Up to 19% of a solution of water, modified food starch, vegetable oil, dried whole eggs, salt, white pepper.”
Does this still qualify as chicken?
“Technically,” yes. The above items are just some of the ingredients found in Panda Express’ Orange Chicken dish, as exposed earlier this week in a video on Pei Wei Tiger’s Twitter. The reveal follows a challenge issued by Pei Wei to its larger competitor to “come clean” about its most popular menu offering.
Last week, Pei Wei Asian Kitchen formally petitioned the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to compel restaurants to disclose their menu’s ingredients so consumers can make informed decisions about what they’re eating. Nearly 2,000 individuals have since joined the campaign for menu transparency by signing on to Pei Wei’s change.org petition. This followed its introduction of The Wei Forward™, a clean-label initiative that embodies Pei Wei’s belief that food should begin with wholesome, fresh ingredients that create bold flavor, and that transparency in ingredients is the best way to empower customers to make smart choices.
The leading fresh, Asian fast-casual brand voluntarily published the full Ingredients Statement for its top-selling dish: the fresh, all-white-meat, never frozen Wei Better Orange Chicken, as well as select other items. Pei Wei further promised that additional dishes will be released until its entire menu is completely transparent and that, by the end of 2019, all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives – dubbed its ‘No Wei List’ – will be removed from its entire menu.
But Pei Wei spokes-animal, Tiger, went a step further by challenging his hapless pal, Panda, to release the ingredients in Panda Express’ Orange Chicken dish. More than two weeks have passed, and the silence is deafening.
“Pei Wei’s Orange Chicken is Wei Better because it’s made with wholesome, quality ingredients – like fresh, never frozen white-meat chicken and real oranges – not frozen dark-meat chicken chunks bathed in artificial flavorings, preservatives and binders,” said Brandon Solano, Chief Marketing & Digital Officer at Pei Wei. “We also think consumers have a right to know what’s in the food they’re ordering, and they shouldn’t have to hire a private investigator to find out.”
To give those frozen, dark meat chicken chunks their orange-ish flavor, Panda Express uses pure orange extract, made from “alcohol, water, and oil of orange.”
Pei Wei’s Wei Better Orange Chicken gets its orange flavoring from … wait for it … freshly sliced oranges.
“We think the time has come for restaurants to stop hiding what they’re putting in the food they sell, which is why we’ve called on the FDA to require all restaurant chains to disclose their ingredients,” said Pei Wei CEO J. Hedrick. “After all, the packaged foods we buy in the grocery store have ingredient labels. Why shouldn’t restaurants provide the same information?”
For the full description of The Wei Forward or to sign on in support of the FDA petition, visit peiwei.com/weiforward.
For the complete list of ingredients in Panda Express’ Orange Chicken, simply dive into a nearby garbage dumpster. Or visit Tiger’s Twitter page here.
Welcome to Asian done a better way. Welcome to Pei Wei Asian Kitchen.
About Pei Wei Asian Kitchen
Pei Wei Asian Kitchen is transforming the industry through its Clean Label initiative, The Wei Forward™, which emphasizes wholesome, fresh foods and menu transparency. To support its belief that consumers have the right to know what’s in their food, the brand petitioned the FDA to require restaurant chains to disclose their menu ingredients. Founded in 2000, Pei Wei is the leading fresh Asian, fast-casual restaurant brand, where bold, Asian flavors couple sit-down quality with take-out convenience. Menu offerings include wok classics featuring rice, noodle and salad bowls along with lighter options such as lettuce wraps and sushi. Dishes are easily customized for a variety of palates and diets, including gluten-friendly and vegetarian. Pei Wei owns and operates restaurants in 20 states. For more information, visit peiwei.com, or follow Pei Wei on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and Tiger on Twitter.