St. Louis, MO (RestaurantNews.com) Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA) has announced that its entire U.S. food menu and portfolio of Panera at Home products are now free from all artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners, and colors from artificial sources as defined by the company’s No No List, inclusive of 96 separate ingredients and additive classes.
Panera is the first national restaurant company to make such a comprehensive commitment and, more importantly, to meet it.
To achieve this clean food milestone, Panera:
- Reviewed more than 450 ingredients, delving several levels into the supply chain to ensure the removal of all artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners and colors from artificial sources
- Reformulated 122 ingredients, resulting in changes to the majority of Panera’s bakery-cafe recipes
- Partnered with more than 300 food vendors on the clean food journey to innovate solutions, ranging from ingredient replacements to rethinking how foods are prepared
This is the latest step in a decades-long journey to offer better food and make a difference in the lives of Panera’s guests as outlined in Panera’s Food Policy.
Cleaning up Panera’s menu while maintaining the same or better taste was not an easy task. Deli meats, bacon and select bakery items were some of the most difficult challenges given the ubiquity of additives in these categories.
Many of the additives removed – notably FD&C colors, sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite and sodium phosphate – remain pervasive in retail and restaurant food today.
“At Panera, we want to serve food we want our own families to enjoy. Offering a clean menu free from all artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners and colors from artificial sources is one way we can help our guests feel confident about the food they eat at Panera,” said Ron Shaich, Panera Bread founder and CEO. He concluded, “Panera’s clean food is foundational to serving food as it should be.”
“This initiative required us to restock the pantry with 100% clean ingredients,” said Sara Burnett, Director of Wellness, Panera Bread. “We are proud of accomplishing this feat, but we are even more proud of the potential impact we can have on the broader food industry. We continue to challenge our peers to make a comprehensive commitment to 100% clean ingredients.”
“EDF congratulates Panera’s leadership, and hopes to work with more brands to ensure that food and chemical policies prioritize health and the environment for our children and future generations,” said Tom Neltner, Chemical Policy Director, EDF. “Panera’s leadership shows that consumer health can be a priority in the corporate bottom line. If more brands followed Panera’s approach to transparency, informing consumers and developing institutional commitment, food would be healthier for all.”
For more information on Panera’s clean food commitment, visit panerabread.com/cleanfood or http://business.edf.org/files/2016/11/PaneraBread_CaseStudyFINAL.pdf
About Panera Bread
Thirty years ago, at a time when quick service meant low quality, Panera set out to challenge this expectation. We believed that food that was good and that you could feel good about, served in a warm and welcoming environment by people who cared, could bring out the best in all of us. To us, that is food as it should be and that is why we exist.
So we began with a simple commitment: to bake fresh bread every day in our bakery-cafes. No short cuts, just bakers with simple ingredients and hot ovens. Each night, any unsold bread and baked goods were shared with neighbors in need.
These traditions carry on today, as we have continued to find ways to be an ally to our guests. That means crafting a menu of soups, salads and sandwiches that we are proud to feed our families. Like chicken and turkey raised without antibiotics on our salads and sandwiches. A commitment to transparency and options that empower our guests to eat the way they want. Seasonal flavors and whole grains. And commitment to removing artificial additives (flavors, sweeteners, preservatives and colors from artificial sources) from the food in our bakery-cafes and our Panera at Home grocery products. Why? Because we think that simpler is better and we believe in serving food as it should be. Because when you don’t have to compromise to eat well, all that is left is the joy of eating.
We’re also focused on improving quality and convenience. With investments in technology and operations, we now offer new ways to enjoy your Panera favorites – like mobile ordering and Rapid Pick-Up for to-go orders – all designed to make things easier for our guests. As of September 27, 2016, there were 2,024 bakery-cafes in 46 states and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co. ® or Paradise Bakery & Cafe® names. For more information, visit panerabread.com or find us on Twitter (@panerabread), Facebook (facebook.com/panerabread) or Instagram (@panerabread).