ST. LOUIS — Panera Bread is the latest company to jump on the clean label bandwagon. The company announced May 5 the publication of its “No No List” of ingredients that will not be used to formulate its products.
“We are not scientists,” said Ron Shaich, founder and CEO. “We are people who know and love food, and who believe that the journey to better food starts with simpler ingredients. And to turn that belief into meaningful action, we consulted third-party scientists and experts to compile a list of common artificial additives that we are going to do without.
“Simplifying our pantry is essential to our vision, but it is not an end point. We want to be an ally for wellness for the millions of guests we serve each week.”
Some ingredients on the chain’s No No List include acesulfame K, autolyzed yeast extract, high-fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, microparticulated whey protein concentrate and others.
The company’s goal is to remove the ingredients on the list from the formulation of its menu items by the end of 2016.
“Last year we unveiled our Food Policy to hold ourselves accountable to long held values and set the future vision for our menu,” Shaich said. “The No No List is the latest step on our journey to clean food and a transparent menu.”
The company estimated 85 percent of the menu items reformulated without the ingredients on its list are in test or have been rolled out nationally. Reworked items will continue to be introduced in advance of the 2016 deadline, according to the company.
The restaurant chain also said it will offer salad dressings that are formulated without artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and preservatives.
“Dressings have been one of the most complex projects given the number of artificial additives — namely flavors and preservatives — conventionally used for taste and consistency,” said Dan Kish, Panera Bread’s head chef. “We’re proud to be offering bakery-cafe salad dressings without artificial additives. We believe they also taste better than ever.”