Popular fast-food chain Panera Bread will become the first chain of its kind to reveal the whole grain content of the bread it serves.
The company says any bread, roll, or bagel that contains 50 percent or more whole grains per serving will feature the number of servings of whole grains per meal as well as the whole grain percentage per item.
While whole grains are renowned for their health benefits and recommended by government agencies as part of a healthy diet, most of the nation's restaurant chains don't include a single whole grain menu option. Many use terms like "multigrain," which can mislead consumers into thinking they're getting a whole grain option when they may not be.
“At our size and scale, we believe it’s part of our job to help revolutionize the food industry from the inside out – challenging the way things have always been done," Blaine Hurst, Panera's CEO, said in a statement. From the whole grain in our breads to the ingredients in our food – we will be relentless, leading by example and committed to increased transparency. But we can’t do it alone. People deserve to know more about their food and how it makes its way to their plate. Together, we can make a real change in the food system.”
The company has been rolling out a number of transparency and food quality upgrades recently. The new whole grain labeling announcement is part of its "Food Interrupted" digital platform. The campaign, which also launched today along with the whole grain announcement, follows food industry leaders.
The first episode, "Grains Interrupted," features chef Marcus Samuelsson and Weiser Family Farms’ Jon Hammond. The experts discuss the roles "ancient" grains play in the future of food.
Future episodes of the "Food Interrupted" series include a look into the benefits of the vegan diet with Kevin Curry and Rip Esselstyn; Chef Sam Talbot explores sugar and diabetes management; New York Times Best-Selling author Hannah Hart dives into the egg industry; Chef Chris Cosentino explores the meat industry; and actor Rainn Wilson explores "clean" food and crop sharing among urban gardeners.
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