Panera Bread is removing artificial additives from its soups

Panera Bread is removing artificial additives from its soups

US bakery-cafe chain Panera Bread is removing the artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners and preservatives from the chilled soups it sells through retail chains.

The foodservice operator sells packaged refrigerated soups in around 10,000 club and grocery stores across the US, all of which will be free of artificial additives featuring on its so-called "no no list" by the end of 2016.

In addition, Panera announced the soups sold in its own outlets are now free from common commercial soup ingredients hydrolysed soy and corn protein, maltodextrin and sodium phosphate. The firm said it has focused on "improving overall ingredient quality" such as moving from conventional bleached flour to unbleached wheat flour.

"I want to create soups that our guests will love," said Dan Kish, Panera Bread's head chef. "And equally important, I want them to understand and feel confident in the ingredients that go into those soups. We've long been advocates of transparency – providing full ingredient information online – and with these new recipes we have even more to be proud of today."