ST. LOUIS — Panera Bread Co. said it is disclosing the whole grain content of bread on its menu, becoming the first national restaurant chain to commit to such an initiative. As part of the program, Panera said it now will label servings of whole grains per slice, roll or bagel, as well as the whole grain percentage, on all bread items over 50% whole grain.
“At Panera, we’ve always tried to do what’s right, regardless of what our industry has accepted as (sufficient) or good enough,” said Sara Burnett, director of wellness at Panera. “Interestingly, multiple whole grain options available at grocers through our Panera at Home bread business helped remind us what really matters in bread and inspired us to translate their progress into our restaurants. Guests deserve real, measurable information, but also options — and we offer more whole grain options than any other national restaurant chain. When we combine our own actions with consumer education in our new ‘Food Interrupted’ series, we believe we can create real demand for better food.”
Panera’s whole grain offerings include a new Farmstyle Loaf, which is made with 55% whole grain and includes 1.2 servings of whole grain per slice.
The new whole grain labeling commitment coincides with the launch of “Food Interrupted,” which is Panera’s first-ever digital platform aimed at providing increased transparency. The digital platform launched Oct. 16 with “Grains Interrupted,” which features chef Marcus Samuelsson and Weiser Family Farms’ Jon Hammond discussing the importance of ancient grains and their role in the future of food.
“At our size and scale, we believe it’s part of our job to help revolutionize the food industry from the inside out — challenging the way things have always been done,” said Blaine Hurst, chief executive officer. “From the whole grain in our bread to the ingredients in our food — we will be relentless, leading by example and committed to increased transparency. But we can’t do it alone. People deserve to know more about their food and how it makes its way to their plate. Together, we can make a real change in the food system.”