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Panera Bread Removing Artificial Additives, Keeping GMOs

The Missouri-based company, which is experienced slowing sales, is trying to satisfy consumer demand and appeal to younger patrons.

Credit: Panera Bread
Credit: Panera Bread
Panera Bread, the cafe chain experiencing stagnant sales this year, on Tuesday announced it will remove artificial additives from its menu in a move to satisfy consumer demand and appeal to younger patrons.

The Missouri-based company, however, will reportedly still use ingredients with controversial GMOs.

Panera has about 15 Massachusetts locations in communities like Burlington, Woburn, Danvers, Needham, Hyannis, Waltham, Wayland, Framingham, Lexington, Newton, Westford, and Watertown.

Panera currently uses artificial additives like coloring for bakery icing, the Associated Press reported. It said it would get rid of them by 2016.

The company said it was committed to achieving the following goals:
  • Clean Ingredients: We are advocates for clean food. We’re committed to sourcing and serving high-quality ingredients without artificial additives including added MSG, artificial trans fats, and ingredients we don’t believe need to be in your food.
  • Transparent Menu: Our menu is diverse. We’re committed to transparency to empower guests to choose how they want to eat.
  • Positive Impact: We are committed to making a positive impact on our food system. We believe guests deserve to know not only what is in their food, but where it comes from and how companies are impacting the food system. 
"Panera was founded on the belief that quick food could be quality food," company founder and CEO Ron Shaich said in a statement. "We started by baking bread from fresh dough each day in our cafes. That commitment led to others—like our early decision to remove artificial trans-fats, post calories on menu boards and invest in serving chicken raised without antibiotics. As we continue to make conscious choices about the food we source and serve, we realized it’s also important to share what we’ve accomplished and where we’re going."

Panera, however, will continue to use foods with GMOs, the AP reported. Chipotle has started labeling foods with GMOs and said it's working to eliminate them from the menu.

Panera will also continue to sell sugary sodas, according to the AP.

In April, Panera said that sales at its stores open at least 18 months increased just 0.1 percent in the first quarter, Reuters reported.

Maggie June 03, 2014 at 03:30 PM
Transparent menu??? Stagnant sales could be the result of forcing customers to pay for food they don't want. Don't get me wrong I do like Panera, but they have a Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad that is wonderful and only available seasonally. A couple of years ago you could buy the salad and "add" chicken if desired. Now you buy the salad and it comes with chicken, if you ask for the chicken to be removed.....you pay the same price! When I complained to them, they said the "chicken" makes the salad! Wow, this is not a chicken salad with strawberries added. Is this how they are trying to make up for sluggish sales? Don't think it's working!
Tara Dactyl June 03, 2014 at 10:09 PM
As long as I can order lunch with extra gluten, lots of gluten... then I'm okay.
mulderjoe June 04, 2014 at 04:00 PM
I miss Krispy Kreme. Just sayin'.
Derek Duchemin June 05, 2014 at 09:15 AM
For the most part I think its a good idea, I can see where there would be some flaws but mostly its a good idea.
hammergjh June 06, 2014 at 11:58 AM
I couldn't care less. I rarely eat at restaurants that are publicly traded. Why eat food conceived by bean-counters?

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