ST. LOUIS – Panera Bread Co. has achieved a “no no list” goal first announced in May 2015 as 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, the company said Jan. 13. To achieve its goal, Panera reviewed more than 450 ingredients, delving several levels into the supply chain. The company reformulated 122 ingredients, resulting in changes to the majority of Panera’s bakery-cafe recipes. The company partnered with more than 300 food vendors to achieve the goal.
|Ron Shaich, founder and c.e.o. of Panera|
“At Panera, we want to serve food we want our own families to enjoy,” said Ron Shaich, founder and chief executive officer of St. Louis-based Panera Bread. “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.”
Panera Bread first published the “no no list” on May 5, 2015, saying more than 150 ingredients would be impacted. The list may be found here. Some of the most difficult challenges came in deli meats, bacon and select bakery items, given the ubiquity of additives in these categories.
|Sara Burnett, director of wellness for Panera|
“This initiative required us to restock the pantry with 100% clean ingredients,” said Sara Burnett, director of wellness for 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.”
Tom Neltner, chemical policy director for the Environmental Defense Fund, a non-profit organization based in Washington, said, “E.D.F. 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. 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.”