Big news! Panera Bread Menu is Now 100% Clean. Panera has kept its promise to phase out artificial ingredients, artificial food dyes, preservatives and ingredients no one can pronounce.
Even as late as 2014, the chain failed to live up to their $70 million dollar ad campaign: Live Consciously. Eat Deliciously. Not with their GMOs, MSG, chemical preservatives, nitrates and many, hidden ingredients.
However, not only have they met their aggressive deadline to roll out a new “100% Clean” menu by 2017, but they have actually sworn off at least 96 ingredients including FD&C colors, sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite, sodium phosphate, MSG and its hidden counterparts, artificial flavors and sweeteners, propylene glycol and other petro-derived chemicals, aluminum-based ingredients and more. They had to work with hundreds of vendors and review 450 ingredients to make this deep change.
…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.
CEO wants to help in fixing broken food system
Here is Ron Shaich, the founder, chairman and CEO of Panera. He says Panera “actually [wants to] be part of fixing a broken food system in this country.” That’s amazing – the food system is broken and for a corporate chain to rise above it at its own expense is laudable.
It makes sense that Panera would naturally move in this direction since its image has always boasted a wholesome, non-fast food look. McDonald’s cannot add kale salads and expect droves of people coming in.
Consumers want fast food at McDonald’s but not the dangerous ingredients. Although people flock to Panera for hearty, healthy meals, there were a lot of detrimental ingredients hiding in their food making them on par with McDonald’s. Perhaps consumers tired of paying high prices for inflammatory foods became disillusioned and started moving on.
Some ingredients remain, such as gluten
It should be noted that the restaurant is likely to keep some ingredients people won’t like such as gluten in soups/bread and GMO ingredients. However, think of other restaurants that you like such as TGIF or Olive Garden and imagine if they overhauled the menu to remove preservatives, colors and MSG. It would still be a milestone.
This latest move by Panera Bread is one of the most monumental steps for restaurants – a leap for chain-kind! We applaud Panera Bread and encourage them to stay vigilant to healthy changes to their menu. Let’s hope it creates a domino effect and travelers can finally enjoy a meal that isn’t a cancer risk.
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