Noodles & Company, serving classic noodle and pasta dishes from its globally inspired world kitchen, unveiled a new brand positioning and food platform—“Made. Different. REAL Food. REAL Cooking. REAL Flavors.”—and announced the removal of all artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners from its core menu, including noodles, sauces, soups, condiments, bread and dressings, but excluding beverages, cookies, and rice crispies. The company has also made a commitment to pursue an entire selection of meat and poultry never given antibiotics or hormones, by 2017. These initiatives ensure the fresh, bold flavors of the company’s globally inspired menu shine through.

“In conjunction with our 20th anniversary and National Noodle Day, we are thrilled to launch our ‘Made. Different. REAL Food. REAL Cooking. REAL Flavors.’ platform that underscores our commitment to food quality and transparency including moving to antibiotic-free meat and poultry options and removing artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners across our core menu,” says chairman and CEO Kevin Reddy. “Since our founding in 1995, we have always provided high quality offerings and created a unique and differentiated made-to-order, fast-casual dining experience, which champions the noodle as a healthy part of any diet. It revolves around serving real food, featuring real cooking techniques and delivering real flavors to our guests. As our guests’ interests continue to evolve, we are proud to be able to take our commitment one step further.”

Noodles & Company’s food journey toward pursuing protein never given antibiotics or hormones started in 2012, when the company introduced its naturally raised pulled pork nationwide. The company will advance its commitment by introducing bacon never given antibiotics or hormones this month, steak and meatball options never given antibiotics or hormones by mid to late 2016, and plans to expand its rollout of antibiotic-free chicken nationwide by early 2017.

Additionally, Noodles & Company is introducing a new petite baguette, free of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners this month, and will be rolling out hormone-free Cheddar Jack cheese to all restaurants by November 2015. A test of a new hormone-free cheese sauce will begin in Colorado in Q4 2015, making its popular Wisconsin Mac & Cheese dish entirely hormone free in that test market.

Dedicated to REAL Food. REAL Cooking. REAL Flavors., Noodles & Company offers today’s busy families nourishing meals, made to order quickly and at a great value, so they have more time to spend with one another. In short, a dedication to REAL for the company means:

REAL Food: Fresh, high quality ‘clean’ ingredients that comprise globally inspired recipes

REAL Cooking: Ingredients prepped throughout the day with every dish being prepared/sautéed to order

REAL Flavors: Global flavor profiles, complex sauces, customized to individual taste preferences

The new brand positioning and its theme of transparency encourages guests to “Get Real” and celebrate the authentic menu offerings Noodles proudly serves at restaurants every day. Guests can expect to see the new ‘Made. Different.’ positioning and integrated marketing program introduced in a number of ways, including new radio and out of home advertising, digital and social media efforts, and in-restaurant brand communications.

“Food knowledge and transparency are top of mind for our Millennial guests. More than ever, they want and expect real food that they can feel great about eating and serving their families. They are looking for a restaurant that can provide a fresh, homemade cooking experience for them, so they can spend that extra time nourishing their most cherished relationships with their family,” says executive vice president and CMO Mark Mears. “We take pride in our dishes, and don’t want our guests to worry about what is in them. It has always been our mission to nourish and inspire every team member, guest and community we serve. We believe our new Made. Different. brand positioning furthers that mission and celebrates the high quality dining experience our guests have come to expect and enjoy at Noodles.”

With more than 200 ingredients on its core menu, Noodles & Company is careful about how and where they source these ingredients. Real, fresh, and colorful ingredients like coriander, lemongrass, basil, sweet sherry, cucumber, and more inspire the globally inspired flavors guests have come to enjoy at its restaurant locations.

“The process involved in making menu changes requires much collaboration with our internal teams and Supply Chain partners,” says Glenn Douglas, vice president of supply chain. “We carefully deconstruct a menu item’s recipe, ingredient by ingredient, with the end goal of making small adjustments, but keeping full global flavor and quality intact, if not better, upon completion of the process. The thorough process we go through to reformulate our dishes can take anywhere from two to over 25 iterations in exploring fresh new ingredient combinations.”

As part of its continued journey, Noodles will continue to evaluate and explore beverage and dessert options free of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners.

“We still have work left to do and are addressing that now, but want to celebrate this accomplishment and tremendous milestone for Noodles & Company,” Reddy says.

Fast Casual, Menu Innovations, News, Noodles & Company