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.
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.