Panera Bread Company has kept its promise to phase out preservatives, artificial food dyes and ingredients you can’t even pronounce. Now, their menu is 100 percent clean. Back in 2014, they didn’t live up to their expensive “Live Consciously. Eat Deliciously” ad campaign, costing them up to $70 million.
In fact, this didn’t come as a surprise considering the fact that their menu included MSG, GMOs, nitrates, chemical preservatives, and other hidden ingredients.
Besides meeting their aggressive deadline to roll out completely clean menu by 2017, Panera has sworn off around 96 harmful ingredients, like sodium benzoate, FD&C colors, sodium phosphate, sodium nitrite, artificial flavors and sweeteners, MSG and its hidden counterparts, aluminum-based ingredients, propylene glycol and other petro-derived chemicals, and more. In order to make this deep change, the company had to review 450 ingredients and work with hundreds of vendors.
Panera Bread made a statement that they are the first national company to make and meet a comprehensive commitment to exclude all artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, and colors from sources included on their No No List.
The CEO of Panera Wants to Help Fix the Broken Food System
The founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Panera, Ron Shaich, explains they see this change in Panera as a step to fix the U.S. broken food system. He believes their action to rise above the broken food system at their own expense deserves praise and commendation. You can see his statement in the video below.
It’s expected that this company will move in the same direction as their image has always praised a wholesome, non-fast food look. For instance, McDonald’s can’t expect lines of people coming in if they announce new lines of kale salads, as their consumers want fast food.
However, this doesn’t mean they want the harmful ingredients that come with their products. Before the new change in Panera’s menu, its food contained a lot of hidden ingredients with detrimental effect, even though their consumers expected healthy meals. Their consumers probably got tired of paying a lot for inflammatory foods, so most of them moved on.
Gluten and Some Other Ingredients Remain
The Panera’s consumers should know there are probably some ingredients which remained in their food. For example, their bread and soups still contain gluten. Nevertheless, think of Olive Garden, TGIF, and other restaurants and imagine how they changed their menu to remove MSG, artificial colors, and preservatives. This would still be a milestone.
Panera Bread has made a revolutionary step to improve the broken food system in U.S., and we applaud and encourage them to continue doing similar changes to their menu. We hope other companies will follow this trend and people can finally enjoy a cancer-free meal.