Panera Bread announced that 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.
To achieve this clean food milestone, Panera:
Reviewed more than 450 ingredients, delving several levels into the supply chain to ensure the removal of all artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners and colors from artificial sources.
Reformulated 122 ingredients, resulting in changes to the majority of Panera’s bakery-cafe recipes.
Partnered with more than 300 food vendors on the clean food journey to innovate solutions, ranging from ingredient replacements to rethinking how foods are prepared.
This is the latest step in a decades-long journey to offer better food and make a difference in the lives of Panera’s guests as outlined in Panera’s Food Policy.
“At Panera, we want to serve food we want our own families to enjoy. 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,” says Ron Shaich, Panera Bread founder and CEO. “Panera’s clean food is foundational to serving food as it should be.”
Cleaning up Panera’s menu while maintaining the same or better taste was not an easy task. Deli meats, bacon and select bakery items were some of the most difficult challenges given the ubiquity of additives in these categories.
Many of the additives removed—notably FD&C colors, sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite and sodium phosphate—remain pervasive in retail and restaurant food today.
“This initiative required us to restock the pantry with 100 percent clean ingredients,” says Sara Burnett, director of wellness, 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 percent clean ingredients.”
“EDF 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,” says Tom Neltner, chemical policy director, EDF. “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.”