Panera Bread ditches artificial ingredients


Panera, artificial ingredients

(Photo: www.daniellesdesserts.blogspot.com)

Panera Bread, the “bakery-style” cafe found in shopping centers across the country, is the latest fast-food spot to announce it’s removing artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and coloring from its entire menu.

What inspired the healthy menu change? “Our customers shouldn’t need a degree in chemistry to understand our ingredient list,” says Kate Antonacci, Panera’s director of societal impact.

Which is why, in addition to a growing consumer interest in transparency and concern over undeclared fast food ingredients, the company promises to get rid of many hard-to-stomach ingredients by 2016. Panera has not said it will avoid genetically modified ingredients (GMOs), however.

Panera joins a roster of other chains that have recently made similar shifts. Chipotle now indicates when GMOs are “unavoidably” in its food (hint: step away from the crispy corn tortillas). And Subway, which has fostered a “fresh” fast-food reputation, announced it would stop using the yoga-mat chemical azodicarbonamide in its breads (only after it was brought to light by consumer food advocate, Food Babe).

While these restaurants have enjoyed a long run of making customers feel better about choosing a freshly made sandwich or a taco salad over a burger and fries (and you bet you’ll be hearing from them and their competitors about their new wholesome direction), the good news is, they’re also now having to prove their meals actually represent a healthier choice.

Although, you’ll still find sugar-filled fountain soda at all of these places. Baby steps? —Molly Gallagher

For more information, visit www.panerabread.com

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3 Comments | ADD YOURS

  1. June 9th, 2014 at 9:40 am

    I love Panera, this is great to hear!!! Now that they have introduced Rapid Pick Up and healthy options at the chain, it will be even easier to maintain my W&G lifestyle on the go as a busy New Yorker! Now if they would only introduce organic cat food…

  2. June 9th, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Will they still be using bromated flour? It’s a known carcinogen, after all…

  3. June 9th, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Really? Why can’t they just stop right now? Why wait til 2016….. So that they can hope that we all forget their promise made in 2014?????
    And why did it take Food Babe to investigate these bad ingredients for Ms Director of Societal Impact to act on things…. Give me a break, …..please.

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