Panera Bread makes fresh pledge on ingredients in retail products

Panera Bread makes fresh pledge on ingredients in retail products

US bakery-cafe chain Panera Bread has extended moves to simplify the recipes for the packaged food lines it sells in retail stores.

In January, the foodservice operator announced plans to remove artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners and preservatives in the chilled soups it sells through retail chains.

Today (15 June), Panera Bread said it will take out the remaining artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners and preservatives in its Panera at Home products. The company expects the portfolio of nearly 50 grocery items to be "clean" - which it said meant free of its so-called "No No List" additives - by the end of the year.

Panera has committed to a clean food menu across its nearly 2,000 U.S. bakery-cafes by the end of this year.

"Much of the work that we've done to simplify recipes in our bakery-cafes has set a standard for Panera at Home products. However, the challenges in the consumer packaged goods space are unique, where artificial additives have long been used to preserve taste and appearance," said Sara Burnett, director of wellness and food policy at Panera Bread said. "For us, the answer was often simple. For instance, we decided early on to use refrigeration to help extend shelf life for products like our soups and salad dressings. Where necessary, we've relied on natural preservatives – such as rosemary extract – to do the job."

The Panera at Home portfolio includes refrigerated soup, mac and cheese, pasta, and salad dressings in addition to frozen bread, sliced sandwich bread and coffee. Panera said its refrigerated soup business commands nearly 35% of the category.