"Panera recognized that trans fat was a growing concern to our customers and the medical community, therefore we made it a priority to eliminate it from our menu," said Tom Gumpel, Director of Bakery Development for Panera Bread. "The most important aspect of this year-long process was upholding our high standards for flavor. The majority of Panera's work was focused on our bakery goods, which had the most trans fat. We are proud to say that the reformulated products achieve the same level of quality and great taste that our customers expect from us."
Recognizing the health risks associated with trans fat, Panera Bread partnered with Saint Louis University's Department of Nutrition and Dietetics in early 2005 to analyze the nutritional content of Panera menu items and identify where trans fat existed. Panera Bread worked with suppliers to reformulate those menu offerings to use trans-free alternatives including butter, palm oil and vegetable-based oils that maintain the flavor and texture of Panera's high-quality offerings.
"The negative health implications surrounding trans fat are critical for the average consumer to understand," said Kathy Kress, M.S.,R.D. of Saint Louis University's Department of Nutrition and Dietetics. "By taking proactive measures to remove trans fat from their menu offerings, companies like Panera Bread are creating healthier alternatives for eating outside of the home. More importantly, they're encouraging consumers to take a closer look at what they're eating."
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