Panera Bread has released a list of over 80 ingredients being removed from its menu. From aspartame to sucralose, sulfites to parabins, the substantial "no no list" has been in the works since last year.
“Last year we unveiled our Food Policy to hold ourselves accountable to long held values and set the future vision for our menu. The No No List is the latest step on our journey to clean food and a transparent menu,” said founder and CEO Ron Shaich.
“We are not scientists. We are people who know and love food, and who believe that the journey to better food starts with simpler ingredients. And to turn that belief into meaningful action, we consulted third-party scientists and experts to compile a list of common artificial additives that we are going to do without. Simplifying our pantry is essential to our vision, but it is not an end point. We want to be an ally for wellness for the millions of guests we serve each week,” Shaich said in a statement.
The company says it’s been working with suppliers to remove the long list of ingredients from its supply chain so Panera Bread can completely remove them from their menu. The ingredients will be removed from bakery items, soups, salads, and sandwiches. The ongoing process has meant recipe development and testing to find replacements for commonly used additives. Salad dressings have been a particularly difficult menu item.
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“Dressings have been one of the most complex projects given the number of artificial additives – namely flavors and preservatives—conventionally used for taste and consistency,” said Dan Kish, Panera Bread’s Head Chef. “We’re proud to be offering bakery-cafe salad dressings without artificial additives. We believe they also taste better than ever.”
By releasing its no no list, Panera Bread is making new strides in transparency. This is just one more example of the fast food industry’s attempt to appease the demands of consumers, from removing GMOs from foods at Chipotle to eliminating medically important antibiotics from chicken at McDonald's.
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Image: Mike Mozart