Panera Bread has always been a franchise dedicated to bettering itself and its community – for evidence, you only need to look as its “Panera Cares” sliding scale pay cafés meant to help struggling customers get a warm and nutritious meal. Now Panera is turning its attention toward what’s in that meal – this month Panera updated its Food Policy Statement with a pledge to be more transparent, make a positive impact on the food system. Along with this, Panera has committed to removing all artificial ingredients – from coloring to preservatives – from its food by the end of 2016.
“For decades, we have worked to provide our customers with food they can trust and transparency that allows them to make choices,” reads the latest Food Policy Statement, issued on June 3. “Our commitment to the core tenets of Food Policy extends back to our earliest days, when we set a course to be the antithesis of heavily processed and commercial food and change the way Americans ate by offering something better, something people could feel good about.”
Today that course has led Panera to revisting its ingredients and getting rid of artificial ingredients “as a step in the journey of offering a ‘cleaner’ menu.” This means finding ways to remove nitrites from deli turkey, preservatives and texturizers like calcium disodium EDTA and maltodextrin from sauces and soups, and caramel coloring by replacing deli roast beef with sliced sirloin steak.
While improving the food system is admirable, most franchises would be wary of committing to anything that could damage its bottom line. But Panera Bread is counting on quite the opposite. Consumers, especially younger consumers in the Millennial demographic, have been demanding more transparency and simpler food products –it stands to reason that Panera is hoping that providing a more transparent menu will entice that demographic to choose their sandwiches and bagels over the standard fast food burger.
Read Panera Bread’s whole Food Policy Statement here: https://www.panerabread.com/content/dam/panerabread/documents/nutrition/panera-bread-food-policy.pdf