Panera Bread Announces Consultancy to Help Other Chains Clean Up Their Acts

Panera Bread Announces Consultancy to Help Other Chains Clean Up Their Acts

Panera Bread has announced the formation of a consulting business to help other fast food chains offer cleaner food to diners.

The business will specifically help chains find ways to source healthier, more natural ingredients and “clean wash” their menus in accordance with consumer demands for cleaner options, Panera Bread said on Monday.

“We want to help industry peers devise strategies that prioritize clean across their whole menu, rather than focusing on a single ingredient or product,” said Sara Burnett, Panera’s director of wellness and food policy.

Ron Shaich, founder, former CEO, and current chairman of Panera Bread, expressed his confidence in the likelihood that other brands will be interested in working with the new consulting business, noting that they have frequently asked for Panera’s advice in the past.

“We thought it was time to formalize that advice,” he told Reuters Monday.

Panera Bread also announced its latest natural menu item Monday: a clean chicken wing sauce.

The establishment of its new consultancy business follows Panera’s most recent battle in the war on artificial ingredients: in tandem with its launch of new breakfast sandwiches featuring “100 percent real eggs” last week, the chain announced its petition to the FDA to endorse a more specific definition for the word “egg.” This, the chain alleged, would help differentiate chains like Panera that use whole eggs from chains that instead use egg products.

Panera Bread has long been at the forefront of developments in cleaner fast food, including stripping artificial additives from its menu in 2016, listing all added sugar in its beverages in 2017, and adhering to specific humane meat pledges including sourcing only antibiotic-free chicken and gestation crate-free pork products long before many of its competitors. At the end of 2016, Panera Bread became the first chain to commit to sourcing only slow-growing chickens, and in 2015, it announced its pledge to commit to cage-free eggs by 2020, a full five years before many of its competitors.

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Emily Monaco is a food and culture writer based in Paris. Her work has been featured in the Wall... More about Emily Monaco