Panera extends clean labels to retail products

by Max Sosland
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Panera plans to remove its "no no list" additives of artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, artificial preservatives and colors from artificial sources from its Panera at Home products. 
 

ST. LOUIS — Panera Bread Co. announced on June 15 that it would expand its “clean” initiative to its retail store products. The company will remove its “no no list” additives of artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, artificial preservatives and colors from artificial sources from its Panera at Home products. By the end of 2016, Panera expects its entire grocery portfolio of nearly 50 products to be free of its “no no list."

Artificial ingredients have been used by the packaged goods industry to enhance shelf stability. Panera already has removed the “no no list” of additives from its food menu in its nearly 2,000 US bakery-cafes, and the company hopes its latest action will help retain consumer standards of retail products in its cleaning of Panera at Home.

Sara
Sara Burnett, director of wellness and food policy for Panera

“Much of the work that we’ve done to simplify recipes in our bakery-cafes has set a standard for Panera at Home products,” said Sara Burnett, director of wellness and food policy. “However, the challenges in the consumer packaged goods space are unique, where artificial additives have long been used to preserve taste and appearance.”

In order to ensure continued freshness and shelf stability of its already cleaned products, Panera relied on alternative solutions to artificial additives.

“We decided early on to use refrigeration to help extend shelf life for products like our soups and salad dressings,” Burnett said. “Where necessary, we’ve relied on natural preservatives — such as rosemary extract — to do the job.”

The Panera at Home portfolio includes refrigerated soup, macaroni and cheese, pasta, and salad dressings in addition to artisan frozen bread, sliced sandwich bread and coffee. The products have been marketed as easy-to-make individual and family-sized meals.

Steph
Stephanie Crimmins, senior vice-president of Panera at Home 

“We all want to feel good about the food we feed ourselves and our families, and many of us would like to prepare those meals at home,” said Stephanie Crimmins, senior vice president of Panera at Home. “But it’s hard to find the time. Panera at Home products bring the flavors you love and quality you expect from Panera to your kitchen, for meals in minutes. We want to give our customers new ways to prepare food that is both good and good for them.”

The Panera at Home portfolio has grown to almost 50 products, with its refrigerated soup business commanding nearly 35 percent market share in the category. The “cleaning” of Panera’s retail products follows that of its soups in January and salads in May.

Ron
Ron Shaich, founder and CEo of Panera 

“We’ve spent years building trust with our guests through transparency and investments in the quality of the food we serve,” said Ron Shaich, founder and CEO of Panera. “Panera at Home is an extension of that work — another way we are offering food as it should be beyond the walls of our bakery-cafes.”

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