Panera Bread and Bakery broke into the QSR top 10 rankings, the Piper Jaffray top five teen favorite brands and the number one spot in Health magazine’s healthiest places to eat. What’s not to love? It’s become the sought after destination on road trips, casual favorite for business luncheons or movie dates and the healthy corporate caterer of choice. Panera was the first company to voluntarily disclose calories on their menu boards and have long been recognized as a top achiever in offering healthier kids meals. They are also one of only two chains to receive an “A” grade on their commitment to reducing antibiotic use in their meat supply.
This winter, they stepped it up a notch further by cleaning up their soup category. Every warm, spoon full of soup is now free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives. This is pretty cool as the winter chill sets in because Panera sells more than 200 million servings of soup each year. Company chefs swapped unbleached wheat flour for conventional bleached flour as part of it’s recipe revision.
Panera bread continues to grow it’s fan base is by hosting fund raising events where schools and other non for profits can earn up to 20 percent of the revenue based on participant sales. Kudos to Panera for providing a healthy alternative to fundraisers that have historically centered on candy bar, cookies or more recently frozen and heavily processed convenience foods promoted in many of our school districts. Panera was the first national restaurant company to share a comprehensive “No No List” of more than 150 artificial additives that it has eliminated or plans to remove from its bakery-cafe food by the end of 2016. This list includes BHA, BHT, sulfites and high fructose corn syrup just to name a few of the top offenders consumers often screen for. Read Panera Bread’s Food Policy for a more full listing of their good deeds including supporting North American farmers and integrating single-stream recycling into all of their bakeries.
Panera has the social media game down too! Its most recent 60-second video trailer shares the story of how it cleaned up the ingredients in Broccoli Cheddar soup. Guests are encouraged to tweet, using the hashtag #soupreview, for a chance to have their review featured as part of the ever-growing video trailer. Fans can participate through March 31, 2016.
Enjoy a healthy Panera lunch from The Dietitian’s Digest today. Panera Bread provided 2 $15 gift cards for the first two readers who retweet this post using the hashtag #bewell and don’t forget the hashtag #soupreview for a special feature in Panera’s fans video.