The chain says that by the end of the next year, dozens of ingredients on its “No No List” will be banished from its menu. Some of the ingredients have already been removed, while others are in process. Shaich:
I want to serve everyone the food I want my daughter to eat. And if I feel uncomfortable about serving her some of this stuff, I don’t want anyone else to eat it…The scientific community and consumers get that food that is less processed and closer to a more natural state, made from the kind of ingredients that you can understand, are better for you….Part of where we’re trying to go, we want them to be able to trust that the food they get at Panera is clean, and not even have to think about it…The reality, like everything, is “hey, it may not help you,” all the way to “this could cause cancer.” I can’t answer that. I’m not involved in the science. But I am clear that I can make better food with less processing. So why not?
Panera issues a comprehensive Food Policy, a formal articulation of its commitment to clean ingredients, transparency, and a positive impact on the food system. The Policy is meant to provide a road map for continuous improvement and accountability. Chief Concept Officer, Scott Davis, explains:
Panera is on a mission to help fix a broken food system. We have a long journey ahead, but we’re working closely with the nutrition community, industry experts, farmers, suppliers and others to make a difference. We’re pleased to publicly share our framework and intend to share progress over time.
Panera opens a nonprofit café in downtown Clayton, Missouri, where customer are encouraged to pay what they can. Cashiers provide customers with receipts of suggested prices and direct customers to the store’s multiple donation boxes. Patrons also have the option to volunteer their time as payment for the meal. The company plans to open two more nonprofit cafés within the next six months, though the locations remain a secret.
Panera announces it will be the first national chain to voluntarily post calorie information at all of its company-owned restaurants. The calorie counts will be posted by 24 March, 2010, at all 585 company-owned stores with the expectation that its franchises will eventually follow suit, bringing the total to 1,380 stores. This goal puts them ahead of Yum Brands – parent of KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silvers, and A&W All-American Food – who committed to post calorie counts on its menu boards by January 1, 2011.