Our Panera obsession just got way healthier. Yay!
Bagel fans, it’s time to celebrate! Panera Bread announced yesterday that they will be eliminating 150 artificial ingredients from their food, including some ingredients that are also used in electronic cigarettes (blech). The decision comes on the heels of Chipotle ramping up restrictions on food served in their restaurants, and taps into a shift in market demand for healthier foods.
“We’re trying to draw a line in the sand in the industry so that consumers have an easy way to know what’s in the food they buy,” Ron Shaich, Panera’s chief executive, told the New York Times.
The plan is to eliminate fat substitutes and some preservatives, among other ingredients, between now and 2016. To be fair, Panera has been eliminating artificial ingredients since 2012, so it’s not necessarily a new policy. That said, cutting 150 ingredients is a pretty huge commitment, and one that rides the wave of anti-artificial ingredient fervor that we’ve seen in fast-food restaurants over the past few years.
Panera and Chipotle are not alone. McDonald’s, Kraft, Hershey, and Snackwell have all made commitments to using healthier ingredients in their foods and to cutting artificial ingredients. Panera Bread calls their list of foods to be eliminated a “No No List,” although Shaich wasn’t ready to make any statements about the actual health impact of the ingredients being cut.
“I’m not a scientist and I’m not wading into the debate over whether any of these things cause cancer or are otherwise bad for you,” he told the Times. “I just think this is where the consumer’s head is right now.”
Only time will tell if the cuts result in changes in taste or sales for Panera, but we’re all for cutting artificial ingredients out of food!