Panera Bread to Dump All Artificial Food Additives

Panera Shakopee 2007By Heather Callaghan

Panera Bread eat-in fast food enjoys wide popularity across the eastern half of the United States as well as the west coast with its 1,800 restaurants.

Perhaps its favor was born out of the wholesome appearance of its food and its taste. Plus, they started out using antibiotic-free chicken. But love for Panera quickly cooled when actual food ingredients were shared wide and were anything but healthy.

That may have been due to the efforts of popular blogger “Food Babe” who is among the many foodies who are inspiring consumers and rocking the food industry. She pointed out that Panera was not living up to its $70 million dollar ad campaign: Live Consciously. Eat Deliciously. Not with their GMOs, MSG, chemical preservatives, nitrates and more.

Panera announced today a pretty radical move. To get rid of all artificial ingredients. No artificial colors, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners or preservatives in any of its many menu items. Of course, this plan will not be complete until the end of 2016 with high-fructose-corn-syrup containing beverages being a future project.

From USA Today:

Among the additives that will be dumped from these Panera foods:

Deli smoked turkey: potassium lactate, sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite and sodium diacetate.
Horseradish: calcium disodium EDTA.
Citrus Pepper Chicken: maltodextrin, potassium lactate.
Cilantro Jalapeño Hummus: ascorbic acid and tocopherol, tara gum, carrageenan, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate.
Summer corn chowder: tapioca Dextrin, modified corn starch, autolyzed yeast extract, maltodextrin, coconut oil derived from triglycerides, artificial flavors.
Roast beef: caramel color.

CEO Ron Shaich wants to eat what he serves, so to speak. The emphasis is on “clean” ingredients, not lack of flavor or food choices. Although, there are no plans right now to remove genetically modified ingredients.

He said:

Millennials understand that prevention is far better than reacting to a disease.

Panera also appears on another side of controversy: Shaich said he supports raising minimum wage. But their other plan for 2016 includes replacing all cashiers with robot kiosks.

The growing consumer consciousness and leading creators are among the many who are picking a battle and hitting the marketplace in critical nerve points. And doing so in progressive steps towards change. It appears to be effective – Panera’s move follows right on the heels of Chipotle’s and Starbucks’ recent stand against GMOs and artificial ingredients (respectively). You can read more about their new Food Policy overhaul here.

When savvy millennials start stirring – big food companies listen and follow each other to the golden, bottom line.

What do you think of these changes?

Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at and Like at Facebook.

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