Panera to post calorie counts at all locations

by Eric Schroeder
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RICHMOND HEIGHTS, MO. — Panera Bread Co. said it will post calorie information on all 585 company-owned Panera Bread and Saint Louis Bread Co. bakery-cafe menu boards by April, with franchise-operated locations expected to follow suit and have calories posted on menu panels by the end of this year. The move would make Panera Bread the first national concept to complete the voluntary posting of calorie information at all of its 1,380 stores across the country. Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands, Inc., parent of KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver’s and A&W All-American Food, in 2008 said it would place calorie counts on menu boards at each of its 3,200 restaurants by Jan. 1, 2011, and remains on pace to do so, according to the company.

“We are pleased to be the first national concept to provide this level of transparency to customers,” said Scott Davis, chief concept officer at Panera. “It comes from our commitment to providing nutrition information and wholesome foods our customers can trust.”

Panera said the decision to post calorie information reflects its long-standing dedication to providing customers with nutritious choices and the information to make wise decisions for themselves.

“As we’ve been introducing our new menu boards across the country, customers have responded very favorably,” Mr. Davis said. “We’ve seen them gravitating toward options that allow them to customize their meals such as our You Pick Two where they can pair smaller portions of our soups, salads or sandwiches to create a meal with fewer calories.

“This whole initiative prompted us to take an even closer look at our menu offerings. The result was we improved the nutritional content and ingredients in several of our menu items. We view it as a ‘win-win’ for both our customers and Panera.”

In addition to the calorie information on the menu boards, Panera is making full nutrition information available via a nutrition calculator on the company’s web site, panerabread.com. On the site, customers may customize their meals and make modifications to fit their preferences. Panera also said it will have nutritional binders on hand at all Panera Bread and Saint Louis Bread Co. bakery-cafes.

“Our efforts in this area will continue to evolve,” Mr. Davis said. “We support initiatives that promote greater transparency for our customers.”

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