Panera increases 'natural' commitment

20 Jun 2016

Panera Bread has announced that it will do away with the remaining artificial flavours, artificial sweeteners, artificial preservatives and colours from artificial sources in its Panera at Home products.

Panera increases 'natural' commitment

Panera Bread has announced that it will do away with the remaining artificial flavours, artificial sweeteners, artificial preservatives and colours from artificial sources in its Panera at Home products. The company expects its entire portfolio of nearly 50 grocery items to be clean, meaning free of its ‘No No List’ additives, by the end of 2016.

The packaged goods industry has historically relied on artificial ingredients to extend shelf stability, the company notes, pointing out that it has experience working to remove such additives, having already committed to a clean food menu across its nearly 2,000 U.S. bakery-cafes by the end of this year.

“Much of the work that we’ve done to simplify recipes in our bakery-cafes has set a standard for Panera at Home products. However, the challenges in the consumer packaged goods space are unique, where artificial additives have long been used to preserve taste and appearance,” said Sara Burnett, Director of Wellness and Food Policy. “For us, the answer was often simple. For instance, we decided early on to use refrigeration to help extend shelf life for products like our soups and salad dressings. Where necessary, we’ve relied on natural preservatives – such as rosemary extract – to do the job.”

The Panera at Home portfolio includes refrigerated soup, mac & cheese, pasta, and salad dressings in addition to artisan frozen bread, sliced sandwich bread and coffee.

“We all want to feel good about the food we feed ourselves and our families, and many of us would like to prepare those meals at home. But it’s hard to find the time,” said Stephanie Crimmins, SVP of Panera at Home. “Panera at Home products bring the flavors you love and quality you expect from Panera to your kitchen, for meals in minutes. We want to give our customers new ways to prepare food that is both good and good for them.”

The Panera at Home grocery line has grown to nearly 50 products available at select retailers across the country. Panera says its refrigerated soup business alone now commands nearly 35% market share in the category.

“We’ve spent years building trust with our guests through transparency and investments in the quality of the food we serve,” said Ron Shaich, Panera’s founder and CEO. “Panera at Home is an extension of that work – another way we are offering food as it should be beyond the walls of our bakery-cafes.”

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