Panera to Use Only “Clean Ingredients” By End of 2016

The company is on a mission to clean up its ingredient list.



In the past few weeks, a slew of companies have upgraded — or committed to upgrading — their ingredients: Soon enough, Kraft Mac and Cheese won’t contain any artificial flavors, preservatives or synthetic colors; Chipotle just nixed GMO ingredients from its entire menu; and now, the folks at Panera are planning to ditch a long list of ingredients from their menu in an effort to only use “clean ingredients,” by the end of 2016, Fortune reports.

But you don’t have to wait until next year to feel good about eating one of Panera’s salads: Starting today, Panera’s salads will be made without any artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors or preservatives, all of which run rampant in commercially made dressings. 

Ironically enough, as Panera founder and CEO Ron Shaich told Fortune, salad dressings have been the most challenging category for the company when it comes to cleaning up their ingredient list. As he says, it took a full two months to simply figure out what ingredients were in the Greek dressing, another four to reformulate it so that it met their new standards, and then months of testing in restaurants to make sure it fit the bill, taste-wise.

Come the end of 2016, the company’s full menu will be rid of all the ingredients on its “No No” list — stuff like high fructose corn syrup, artificial smoke flavor, partially hydrogenated oils, and more. As Shaich told Fortune, “My kids are eating Panera 10 to 11 times a week. I don’t want to serve them junk.” And we’re guessing you don’t want to be served junk either, right?

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