Panera, Chipotle lead the way
In foodservice, restaurant chains Panera Bread Co., St. Louis, and Chipotle Mexican Grill, Denver, have taken out artificial ingredients.
Panera Bread Co. in January reported its entire US food menu and portfolio of Panera at Home products are free from artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners and colors from artificial sources as defined by its “No No List,” inclusive of 96 separate ingredients and additive classes. To achieve the task, Panera reviewed more than 450 ingredients, reformulated 122 ingredients and partnered with more than 300 food vendors.
“At Panera, we want to serve food we want our own families to enjoy,” said Ron Shaich, founder and CEO. “Offering a clean menu free from all artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners and colors from artificial sources is one way we can help our guests feel confident about the food they eat at Panera.”
Chipotle Mexican Grill on April 10 launched its “As Real as It Gets” advertising campaign to feature its strategy on ingredients. Chipotle does not use any added colors, flavors or preservatives — artificial or natural — in any of the ingredients it uses to prepare its food in all US restaurants. Chipotle does use lemon and lime juice, but only for taste and not as preservatives. Beverages are not included. The five ingredients in Chipotle’s flour tortillas are flour, water, canola oil, salt and yeast.
“We never resorted to using added colors or flavors like many other fast-food companies do simply because these industrial additives often interfere with the taste of the food,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and CEO “However, commercially available tortillas, whether they are for us or someone else, use dough conditioners and preservatives. I’ve been on a quest for a better tasting tortilla for years, and we finally achieved a tortilla made the way you would make them at home, and they are simply delicious.”
At retail, Minneapolis-based General Mills Inc. launched free-from products this year. Very Berry Cheerios contain no colors from artificial sources, no artificial flavors and no high-fructose corn syrup. Nature Valley Granola Cups contain no colors from artificial sources, no artificial flavors and no artificial sweeteners, and Fiber One Layered Chewy Bars are free from artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners.
Nestle SA, Vevey, Switzerland, said it plans to remove all artificial colors from its products by 2020. Other 2020 goals for Nestle are reducing the sugar added to products by 5 percent, reducing the sodium added to products by 10 percent, and reducing saturated fats by 10 percent in all relevant products that do not meet the company’s nutrition foundation criteria with respect to saturated fats.