"Panera was founded on the belief that quick food could be quality food," said Ron Shaich, founder, chairman and CEO. "We started by baking bread from fresh dough each day in our cafes. That commitment led to others -- like our early decision to remove artificial trans-fats, post calories on menu boards and invest in serving chicken raised without antibiotics. As we continue to make conscious choices about the food we source and serve, we realized it's also important to share what we've accomplished and where we're going."
The food policy, posted in full form at panerabread.com/foodpolicy, focuses on three areas where the company believes it can have a significant impact.
- Clean Ingredients: Panera states it is an advocate for clean food and is committed to sourcing and serving high-quality ingredients without artificial additives including added MSG, artificial trans fats, and ingredients it does not believe need to be in food.
- Transparent Menu: Panera notes its menu is diverse, and it is committed to transparency to empower guests to choose how they want to eat.
- Positive Impact: Panera says it is committed to making a positive impact on the food system, noting that guests deserve to know not only what is in their food, but where it comes from and how companies are impacting the food system.
"We believe simpler is better," explained Scott Davis, chief concept officer. "Panera is on a mission to help fix a broken food system. We have a long journey ahead, but we're working closely with the nutrition community, industry experts, farmers, suppliers and others to make a difference. We're pleased to publicly share our framework and intend to share progress over time."
Panera's food policy is meant to provide a roadmap for continuous improvement and accountability. In addition to launching its Food Policy, Panera has announced that it intends to remove artificial additives (colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives) from its bakery-cafe food menu by the end of 2016.
"Panera's forward-looking policy on antibiotics has made it an industry leader," said Erik Olson, senior strategic director for Health and Food for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "The company has been purchasing chicken raised without antibiotics for more than a decade -- and over the years expanded to roasted turkey, ham, and sausage. We support their newest commitment to remove artificial additives. We look forward to working with them to ensure all their ingredients are essential and safe."