Industry News | July 31, 2007

Au Bon Pain Works Toward Healthier Menu

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Au Bon Pain, a breakfast and lunch concept in office buildings, airports, hospitals, malls, and college campuses, announced an expanded focus on nutrition with the unveiling of the bakery/cafe’s new Web site, www.aubonpain.com, which provides in-depth nutrition information for health-conscious consumers.

The company also announced it has eliminated trans fats from 100 percent of its products, reinforcing the company’s commitment to providing fresh, nutritious food to its loyal customers. Currently, 95 percent of Au Bon Pain menu items available in the cafes contain zero grams trans fats, and by the end of the summer any remaining items made with trans fats will be replaced by items containing zero grams trans fats.

The updated Web site features an innovative “Smart Menu,” where site visitors can search for foods that fit their specific dietary needs, build an entire Au Bon Pain meal and view the nutrition information for that combination of food choices. Users simply select a nutritional requirement to search by, such as low sodium or high fiber, and choose a category of Au Bon Pain products, such as soups, sandwiches, or bakery items. The Smart Menu then displays the items in the selected category sorted by the nutritional requirement that the user selected, and users can add individual menu items to their virtual plate. The Smart Menu totals up the nutritional value of the items on the plate automatically, providing consumers with a holistic view of the meal’s nutrition information, including the net calories, carbohydrates, cholesterol, fiber, protein saturated fat, and sodium. The Smart Menu also displays the nutritional information for each individual item, as well as a list of ingredients. For users that want to check out the complete nutrition information for their favorite pastry or smoothie at-a-glance, the Cafe Menu on the new Web site also provides the FDA Nutrition Facts panel for each menu item.

“In a recent survey of Au Bon Pain customers, 12 percent of respondents said they always base meal decisions on nutrition value,” says Au Bon Pain President/CEO Sue Morelli. “Eating healthy is clearly a priority for our customers. In addition to offering a variety of delicious and nutritious food options, Au Bon Pain strives to provide its customers with tools to help them make the right choices for their individual dietary needs.”

The new site also provides take-away menus and order pads that users can print out and complete prior to placing an order, simplifying the ordering process and making it easy to keep track of multiple orders. For customers ordering lunch for the entire office, a complete catering menu is available online and catering requests can now be placed via the Web site.

Working with a Nutrition Advisory Board, Au Bon Pain has developed an innovative program to keep customers informed about the food choices they make. The company began to greatly reduce trans fats and, in most cases, eliminate them from its menu items four years ago. In-store Nutrition Kiosks offer customers in-depth ingredient and dietary information about each Au Bon Pain menu item and provide a customized list of Au Bon Pain menu choices. The revamped Web site now provides consumers with another channel to make smart food choices.