Thursday, January 7, 2016

Panera Bread makes new strides towards a healthier menu

Peyton Behrends
Mr. Reuter
Economics- A1
5 January 2016


Panera Bread Makes Huge Strides Toward a Healthier Menu


Panera Bread has recently made it known to the public that it is set to implement a new food policy that will remove all artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives from its menu by the end of 2016.

According to CBS News, “Panera has already garnered a reputation for offering ‘healthier’ options than fast-food chains such as McDonald's. It's long offered chicken raised without antibiotics, for instance, while its bread doesn't include artificial preservatives. The chain has already ousted almost three dozen additives from its kitchens, including MSG, the company said today” (Picchi).

For Panera, eliminating the ingredients will not be a walk in the park because about 168 of their 460 ingredients will need be reformulated. In fact, the popular bakery-cafe required four months to reformulate just one salad dressing, it's Greek dressing. A huge tradeoff will be the time it will take for Panera to finalize all the ingredients and the potential costs of the new ingredients.

“For more than a year, Panera’s culinary team has been working alongside trusted suppliers to “un-engineer” its food menu, removing the artificial additives that have become prevalent across the industry’s supply chain. The project has meant ongoing recipe development and testing- from finding replacements from artificial colors in pastries to removing commonly used artificial preservatives in soups.All of this work has been done with the standard of maintaining or improving taste” (Yohannan).
Panera’s decision to eliminate chemical additives from their menu is part of the company’s quest to address consumer demands and potential health concerns."We are not scientists," said Panera founder and CEO Ron Shaich. "We are people who know and love food, and who believe that the journey to better food starts with simpler ingredients" (Rooney).

Panera has raised the competition a lot in the food industry, Their new policy to get rid of additives and use more natural ingredients has led many other restaurants to follow in their footsteps. For example, McDonald's, once the leading fast-food chain, has been struggling to revive sales as consumers' tastes have changed. It unveiled a turnaround plan that includes better food made with higher-quality ingredients.

But the trend goes beyond fast food. Even some of the world's largest food companies have been making changes. Kraft is removing artificial preservatives and synthetic colors from its macaroni and cheese, famous for its bright yellow color. Nestle is now making candy bars without artificial colors and flavors and even Coke has removed a chemical used in flame retardant from its drinks.

Despite all the good that will come from Panera’s new and improved menu, there will still be an opportunity cost. Panera will have to get rid of previously used ingredients which also might cause some items on the menu to be completely removed, even some of the consumers favorites. Panera might lose a few customers due to this however, I believe that if they can continue to put out delicious food with delicious ingredients they will have no problem keeping their regular customers.

Works Cited

Aubrey, Allison. "Panera Is the Latest to Drop Artificial Ingredients From Its Food." Wisconsin Public Radio Ideas Network. NPR, 6 May 2015. Web. 7 Jan. 2016.

Picchi, Aimee. "Panera Vows to Get Rid of "no No" Ingredients." CBS Money Watch. CBS News, 5 May 2015. Web. 7 Jan. 2016.

Rooney, Ben. "Panera Bread Joins Healthy Food Trend." CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 5  May 2015. Web. 07 Jan. 2016.





28 comments:

  1. I love the idea that Panera is raising by wanting to get rid of all artificial colors and preservatives, however, with an all organic menu, how far are prices going to skyrocket? Would it really be worth it? Organic things bought from food stores are already pricey, and that combined with the sales needed to keep a restaurant going; my guess is that the prices that are already considered to be high will go even further. However, organic things are in high demand now a days, and people might be willing to trade off the price for the health benefits as we make steps to be a healthier country.

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  2. I love the idea that Panera is raising by wanting to get rid of all artificial colors and preservatives, however, with an all organic menu, how far are prices going to skyrocket? Would it really be worth it? Organic things bought from food stores are already pricey, and that combined with the sales needed to keep a restaurant going; my guess is that the prices that are already considered to be high will go even further. However, organic things are in high demand now a days, and people might be willing to trade off the price for the health benefits as we make steps to be a healthier country.

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  3. Another opportunity cost to Panera might be the cost of the new ingredients, to make the food items. It's evident in almost every store that organic ingredients are far more expensive than the go to ingredients full of artificial colors and additives. It may also hurt business for Panera as it has to raise it's prices on the food menu.Individuals might pick McDonalds or taco bell as the cheaper option without even making a health conscious decision. Therefore Panera will still have huge competition because of prices and the infamous dollar menu which isn't realistic for Paneras all natural ingredient food.

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  4. Panera is one of my favorite restaurants, not only because it offers healthy choices but it is always so good and fresh! Therefore I am glad to see the shift to offering even healthier choices and the removal of artificial flavors/colors as well as the artificial preservatives used in their soups. It is evident that Panera is setting a trend for all other fast food places. Now McDonald's the monopoly of all fast food places finally has some competition as the taste of consumers has changed to a healthier outlook. In the very large multi-million dollar food market in America... Hopefully the changes made in these places will lead to a healthier America without the expense of the companies losing money on their investments to choosing the more nutritious path.

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  5. I thought Panera Bread was already a healthy "fast food" restaurant. We'll I don't think it's going to be a huge differences unless one goes there everyday and have really strong taste buds. I'm glad Panera Bread is getting even more healthier, I wished more places were. Panera cares about their customers health and other restaurants should do. This is nice to know and maybe I should start eating Panera instead of McDonalds or Taco that's right across the street from my house.

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  6. This is an interesting post as it addresses current and future issues in the food industry. It is apparent that Panera is making their best effort at creating a healthy menu. This is an ambitious goal as they could easily lose customers from the drastic changes. I personally think Panera would be as fine as they are now. The question that can only be answered in the long run is whether or not they will gain more customers than they lose.

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  7. I never really thought about the trade-offs for panera to change their menu in such a way. They may be gaining customers by going a healthier way. Although they may be gaining customers, they are also losing out because some of their foods may not taste the exact same. I think it is great that panera is choosing to change their brand to a healthier restaurant!

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  8. I am a huge Panera fan and am so happy that they have made the decision to remove all of the additives from their foods, all the way down to the salad dressings. However, I do see this causing the price of menu items to increase since the input (or ingredients) that will be purchased or made will likely be more expensive. Chiptole is another chain which has made the promise to keep their food natural and real, and they have to charge higher prices than an average food chain to do so. However, people who value quality foods like myself usually are not turned off by the extra cost considering the quality of the product. But I guess demand just depends on specific consumer taste. I know that I would be willing to pay more for a real, whole foods salad or muffin with no chemical additives. Making a healthier menu will attract new (and keep many loyal) customers coming back.

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  9. I noticed they have been taking small things away from their menu starting last year. One of my favorite sandwiches was taken away and replaced by something else that would be consider healthier than before. However, if Panera does start producing healthier foods there are going to be some upset customers that won't be as satisfied as they were before when they find out that they don't serve what they used to anymore. And might lose that customer group. but since Panera is still very well known and popular they will still get a good amount of people coming in and seeing what else they have to offer starting next year.

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  10. I believe that this change may swing their customers either way. Although I myself do not eat at Panera on an average basis, I believe that they should keep their previous options in addition to these new, less artificial options. This would not only increase their customer basis with the new options, but also ensure the keeping of the previous customer base with the options that they are used to.

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  11. I was really interested in reading this article because, recently, I have noticed changes in Panera's menu and I didn't understand why they were doing that. I feel as though, because this is causing increases in prices for some dishes, the change in price may drive some people away since Panera is already a pretty expensive place to eat. However, some people may be willing to pay more money for higher quality food. The opportunity cost of healthier food may turn some away, however, it may also be a trade off that people are willing to make.

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  12. I personally love Panera and go there quite frequently. I find it exciting that they are removing additives from there foods. Although, it does concern me that they are making these changes because Panera is already expensive and making the product even healthier is sure to drive up the prices. Instead of going there 2 days a week I might start going once every other week. I think if they were to drastically increase their prices a lot of their customers would stop buying the product, reducing there overall total revenue.

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  13. As a fan of Panera I am excited to see a piece written about it. It has great food and is a nice place to sit and eat. What makes it unlikable is how the prices keep rising. I would much rather have a meal at Panera than McDonald's but it is hard to do so with such a price difference. Panera is kind of hurting their consumer base by charging such high prices. I understand it is healthier food which naturally costs more but it is significantly different from other places. I hope at some point they can bring their prices down.

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  14. I believe that this change for Panera will benefit them greatly. Recently in years there has been high demand in healthier foods and so more consumers will be attracted by this new change in ingredients. My only concern is the opportunity cost of this change. Panera will be focusing their time on creating new ingredients rather than formulating new dishes. Also they will need new employees to find these new ingredients. The long-run is what they should focus on for this company.

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  15. The integration of new, healthier products at Panera is two fold. It allows customers to choose from more healthier options than the previous menu, but it also takes away previous options that were on the menu before. I believe that Panera should keep almost all of previous options from their menu in addition to the new more healthy options. While they start to bring more healthy option they should only begin to eliminate the lowest selling options, like only a few items should come off the menu. This would allow customers to still have the option to choose the item that they have chosen in the past and also to export new options with the healthier menu. This would allow them to keep their existing customers and increase their customer base with the new options on the menu.

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  16. Although restaurants are trying to serve higher quality food there is a big trade off. Some customers may believe that the items on their menu right now are healthy enough. This is a big decision for these restaurants to make. It could help the competition that serves unhealthier plates. I personally think that humanity would be better off if these restaurants focused on serving higher quality food. This would be a positive externality.

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  17. As our lifestyles have been changing throughout the different generations, it is awesome to know that Panera Bread is set to implement a new policy. Such as removing all artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives by the end of 2016 It's awesome that in this post you added how many of the ingredients are going to need to be reformulated. On thing that I would add would be to add a graph or explain how big of an impact this is. And what other restaurants are going to need to do in order to stay in competition.

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  18. I think that it is a great idea for Panera to try and make everything they sell healthy, although many people seem to find it healthy already. This is a very huge decision for this company since it will change a lot about it, like prices of their foods and if people will still want to buy food from them. Our generation is in higher demand for healthier "fast food" restaurants our there and by changing the menu, this could really benefit Panera greatly.

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  19. This is a great topic that has many trade offs. I agree that if some of the menu items are removed, they will lose a little business, however in the long run it will attract more customers who respect healthy food. The only thing I don't understand is the cost. Even though they're taking away ingredients, it seems like quite the expense to figure out how to remake recipes. Because of this, do you think their menu items will go up in price?

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  20. Parnera is one of my favorite places to eat at, so I'm glad that they are making the switch to healthier ingredients. I agree that some regular costumers may not eat there because of this switch, but there is potential for new costumers because they made this switch.

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  21. I knew that Panera used pretty fresh ingredients, which attracted a lot of consumers, but now that it is striving for even fresher and more natural ingredients, the growth of revenue will be substantial. It is a big opportunity cost to take that time and money to revise so many aspects of the menu, but in the long run, the marginal benefits will outweigh the costs. This is not only because the new and improved menu will attract a wider variety of consumers, but the products that go into the final products will be more expensive, thus raising the prices on the menu. The price increase could make their food more of a luxury, or elastic item for consumers, and it could drive them to buy cheaper substitutes, but maybe by the end of 2016 everyone will succumb to Panera's healthier ways despite the impending cost increase.

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  22. I, as a part of Panera’s consumer base, fully support their goal of making their food healthier. It also draws in new consumers with the incentive of healthier food compared to other fast food restaurants. I do agree that they have a huge trade off with having to take the time to alter 168 of their 460 ingredients. Hopefully the marginal benefit of consumer happiness will outweigh the marginal cost of time taken to make the food healthier.

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  23. A lot of restaurants claim that they either serve healthy food or will. Most of the time, however, the reason for this claim is due to the "healthy lifestyle" that is advertised virtually everywhere. Specifically at Panera, this is a smart choice on their part. Many people see the word healthy and love it. So this move towards healthier food is most likely going to benefit them even more.

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  24. Although healthy food is certainly getting more popular with many fast food eaters, there also usually a case where this healthier food there is also a higher price. This is simply because it is harder to get these healthy ingredients and it takes more work to make. Overall this healthier choice will be beneficial to a lot of consumers the slightly higher price could also drive some customers away.

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  25. Would the amount of consumers gained match the amount lost? If so then this could benefit them economically, if not this could cause their costs to go up and revenue to decrease. If demand for healthier options is high then the number of consumers can increase greatly.

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  26. I have recently heard about this change Panera is making and think it is a great idea. Even though it would be disappointing if my favorite items were taken off the menu, at least I would know that all of the remaining options are healthy and don’t contain anything artificial. I believe Panera offers an incentive for other restaurants to also try and be healthy. If people hear about Panera’s healthy new menu, they may choose to go there instead of other places. It would be interesting to see how much it would cost to reformulate all those ingredients and how long it would take for the menu to be complete. In the long run, I think it would be worth it. Great article!

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  27. Even though Panera's decision to get rid of preservatives in their food is a long and difficult process that could potentially affect their current revenue, I believe that their sales will increase in the long run as more people hear about all the benefits of simple food. New consumers who enjoy eating healthy and staying in shape may travel more to Panera for a meal knowing that they can enjoy food and stick to their diet at the same time. Overall, this is a great decision for Panera that can broaden their consumer base and bring in more revenue. It will make their restaurant more appealing than some of their direct competitors.

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