If you head to your local Panera Bread sometime soon, you’ll see the return of the sandwich and salad chain’s famous summer strawberry poppyseed salad. You’ll find a long menu that makes lunch decision-making (and consequently, the line in front of you), seemingly never-ending. But what you won’t experience are a whole plethora of artificial additives. Panera Bread has become the first national restaurant chain to share a list of 150 banned artificial ingredients that will never appear in any form in any of their menu items. At the top of Panera’s least wanted list are high fructose corn syrup, artificial trans fats, and a whole plethora of artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, and preservatives.
“We are not scientists. We are people who know and love food, and who believe that the journey to better food starts with simpler ingredients,” Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich said in a statement. “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.”
Panera announced that it has worked with a team of scientists for more than a year to “un-engineer” its menu items in order to find replacements for artificial ingredients. That begins today with the introduction of a whole new line of “clean” salad dressings with no additives from the “no-no list” in sight.
Panera is not the first chain to commit to social health responsibility. Chipotle just announced that they are saying no to GMOs, and the biggest fast food chains are even taking soda off their kids’ menus.