Panera Bread’s entire U.S. bakery-café soup menu no longer contains artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives on its No No List, many of which are pervasive in restaurant and retail soups.
Panera sells approximately 200 million servings of soup a year, rotating daily between 10 core soups in addition to seasonal favorites including Turkey Chili and Autumn Squash. Broccoli Cheddar is the company’s top seller.
Common commercial soup ingredients—such as hydrolyzed soy and corn protein, maltodextrin, and sodium phosphate—no longer appear in any of the company’s bakery-cafe soups. Not only has Panera removed all No No List additives, its chefs also took the opportunity to focus on improving overall ingredient quality, such as moving from conventional bleached flour to unbleached wheat flour.
“I want to create soups that our guests will love,” says Dan Kish, Panera Bread’s head chef. “And equally important, I want them to understand and feel confident in the ingredients that go into those soups. We’ve long been advocates of transparency, providing full ingredient information online, and with these new recipes we have even more to be proud of today.”
This latest clean milestone comes after more than a year of recipe testing by Panera chefs, who focused on both clean ingredients and preserving the familiar tastes and textures of its classic soups.
“A lot of care went into these recipes. In fact, we revised Broccoli Cheddar 60 times, but we did have simplicity on our side. Time and again, we’ve found that when you replace artificial additives with simpler ingredients, you achieve a better taste,” Kish says.
Panera is celebrating Broccoli Cheddar with a 60-second video trailer that shares the story behind the clean remake of this fan favorite and encourages guests to tweet, using hashtag #soupreview, for a chance to have their review featured as part of the ever-growing video trailer. Fans can participate through March 31.
The company is also a leading retailer of packaged refrigerated soups, which it offers through approximately 10,000 club and grocery stores across the U.S. These soup varieties will be free of all No No List additives by the end of 2016.