Fresh. Wholesome. Transparent. These three words are the foundation of a bold new initiative introduced Monday by Pei Wei Asian Kitchen. Dubbed The Wei Forward, it embodies the brand’s belief that food should begin with wholesome, fresh ingredients that create bold flavor, and that transparency in ingredients and cooking methods is the best way to empower customers to make smart choices.
Pei Wei’s Clean-Label Initiative centers on the following principles:
- Fresh, Whole Foods—From house-chopped vegetables and fresh-cracked eggs to hand-cut grass-fed steak and never-frozen white-meat chicken, every dish begins with mindfully sourced, fresh ingredients selected for nutrition as well as world-class flavor.
- Clean and Transparent—Pei Wei is committed to using minimally processed ingredients with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, while being completely honest about any shortcomings or areas needing improvement. Four of Pei Wei’s most popular dishes currently meet this clean label standard – Wei Better Orange Chicken, Wei Veggie Orange Chicken, Honey-Seared Chicken and Sesame Chicken. Four more dishes will join them by the end of 2018. The company is likewise committed to advocating for consumers’ right to know what’s in their food.
- Made For You—Because every guest is an individual, Pei Wei believes every dish should be customizable, made-to-order and always prepared in-house. The menu is designed to be friendly for all diets, including gluten-free and vegetarian.
“The Wei Forward is not just our latest campaign, it literally is the philosophy that will drive our brand into the future,” says Pei Wei CEO J. Hedrick. “By 2020, we will be removing all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives—what we’re calling our ‘No Wei List’—from our entire menu. We’ve alerted our suppliers that we intend to remove these additives from our recipes as quickly as possible. We are serious about being industry leaders in the ‘clean label’ movement, and we are challenging others in the industry to join us in serving real food to their guests. They deserve no less.”
To underscore its groundbreaking commitment to transparency, Pei Wei is kicking off its Clean-Label Initiative by publishing the full Ingredient Statement for its top-selling dish: the fresh, all-white-meat, never frozen Wei Better Orange Chicken, as well as selected other items. Over the months ahead, additional dishes will be released until the entire menu is completely transparent.
In suspiciously coincidental timing, Pei Wei’s spokes-animal, Tiger, took to Twitter today to challenge his hapless pal, Panda, to release the ingredients in Panda Express’ Orange Chicken dish. Spoiler alert: Tiger isn’t holding his breath.
“Our decision to publish our ingredients statement isn’t just another way to differentiate Wei Better Orange Chicken from Panda’s dish; it’s part of our on-going commitment to serving clean, healthy and wholesome food,” says Brandon Solano, Chief Marketing & Digital Officer at Pei Wei. “And while some may consider The Wei Forward to be radical, we think it’s just common sense. Consumers deserve to know what’s in the food they’re eating. So we’re going to tell them everything. And when a particular dish doesn’t measure up to our own high standards, we’ll be transparent about it, and we’ll do our best to fix it as soon as we possibly can.”