Economy The Bite

As promised, Panera dumps all food additives

The company reformulated 122 of its ingredients and partnered with more than 300 food vendors to create new products that offer a fresh take on prepared foods.

In this March 2010 file photo, a worker passes an order to a customer at a Panera Bread store in Brookline, Mass.
Charles Krupa/AP/File
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Panera Bread said that all of its products and in-store menu items are now 100-percent free of all food additives. This comes at the end of an ongoing initiative to eliminate all artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, and preservatives from its food products. The company reformulated 122 of its ingredients and partnered with more than 300 new food vendors to create new products that offer a fresh alternative to prepared foods.

“Good food costs more, but we think consumers get it,” says Ron Shaich, Founder and CEO of Panera Bread. In addition to a clean food commitment, Panera’s food policy also outlines its commitment to a transparent menu and a belief 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.”

Among the eliminated ingredients are sodium benzoate, nitrates, sodium phosphate, potassium sorbate, and FD&C colors which also populate Panera’s “No No List”—a list of ingredients the company reports are no longer present in its foods.

Panera plans to help other restaurant chains in the industry in rethinking their menus. “We are happy to work with any of our friends, and they are often friends, others in the industry,” Shaich shared in an interview. “This is good stuff for everybody and we are doing this because it’s good for guests. It’s a better way to eat.”

This story originally appeared on Food Tank.

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