Sweet Facts: Panera Bread Announces Next Wave of Transparency

First National Restaurant Company to Post Calories and Teaspoons of Added Sugar Directly on the Cup


A recent national survey* commissioned by Panera Bread revealed that 99% of Americans do not know the amount of added sugar in a 20 fl. oz. serving of standard cola, with 83% of Americans underestimating the amount. To better support and inform guests, Panera Bread today announced it will be the first national restaurant company to place calories and added sugar information directly in the hands of guests. Beginning this week, the company will roll out a new “sweet facts” fountain beverage cup that lists the calories and added sugar in each of its six new craft beverages, as well as regular cola.

Comment by Ron Shaich, Panera founder, Chairman and CEO
“We believe it’s up to companies to take the lead on transparency, not wait for legislation.  Earlier this year we became the first national restaurant company to post both calories and added sugar at the point of pour, but we quickly saw that we could—and should—do more,” Shaich said. “With the combination of more information and better options available, we’re seeing our guests begin to trade from fountain soft drinks to our new clean beverages.”

In March of 2017, Panera began declaring added sugar and calories in fountain beverages on in-cafe signage at point of pour as part of its progressive effort to provide better options and transparency to its guests.  With the initial launch of new craft beverages and signage, Panera has already seen an eight percent shift toward increased consumption of medium and lightly sweetened beverages vs. fountain soda. The addition of the new “sweet facts” cup is the company’s boldest step yet, providing information right on the cup so guests can make an informed beverage choice. The new cup is currently available in eight markets, and will roll out nationwide to complement the national availability of Panera’s 100% clean craft beverages, made with no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, flavors or colors from artificial sources.

Comment by Sara Burnett, Director of Wellness and Food Policy
“What’s worse than the amounts of added sugar found in traditional fountain beverages is that guests aren’t even aware of it,” said Sara Burnett, Director of Wellness, Panera Bread. “We want to allow guests to make informed choices relative to beverages. Guests have the right to know they could be drinking 17 teaspoons of added sugar per 20 ounces depending on the beverage choice they make. That’s more than the daily USDA guidelines.  We want to give guests better information and more options.”

New Craft Beverages Now Available Nationwide
The addition of craft beverages to the menu provides guests with a broader range of clean beverage options at Panera, from medium sweetened to 0g of added sugar. Made with less sugar than current drink offerings, the new craft beverages offer a range of sweetness:

  • Iced Black Tea and Plum Ginger Hibiscus Tea are unsweetened, with 0 g added sugar
  • Prickly Pear Hibiscus Fresca is lightly sweetened with fruit juice, with 0 g added sugar
  • Passion Papaya Green Tea, Blood Orange Lemonade and Agave Lemonade contain less than 35 g of added sugar per 20 fl. oz. cup

Third-Party Support:
Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., Center for Science in the Public Interest
“Kudos to Panera for informing its customers of the added-sugars content of its beverages, and for doing it in a convenient, understandable way. The Food and Drug Administration insists that labels list added sugars in terms of grams, which few Americans understand. Panera is disclosing added sugars in terms of teaspoons, which everyone understands. That’s the latest thing that Panera has done to earn its reputation of being arguably the nation’s most responsible chain restaurant.”

Rachel K. Johnson, PhD, MPH, RD, FAHA, Professor of Nutrition at the University of Vermont and former chair of nutrition committee for the American Heart Association:
“People who frequently consume sugary drinks are at a higher risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. For optimal health, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 9 teaspoons of added sugar a day for men, no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day for women and youth, and zero added sugars for children under the age of two.”

Panera has a history of industry-leading initiatives:

  • In 2004, we introduced chicken raised without antibiotics;
  • In 2007, we committed to remove all artificial trans fats from the menu;
  • In 2010, we were the first national restaurant to display calorie information on menu boards;
  • In 2014, we announced our plan to remove artificial sweeteners, preservatives, flavors and colors from artificial sources from our food menu by 2016;
  • In 2015, we unveiled our “No No List” and our progress toward our 2016 goal; and;
  • In January 2017, we celebrated our U.S. food menu being completely free of artificial sweeteners, preservatives, flavors and colors from artificial sources
  • In summer 2017, we committed to compliance with Menu Labeling and Retail Food Labeling laws by the original July 2018 date, despite legislative delays

For more information, visit www.PaneraBread.com/sweetfacts.

*This survey was commissioned by Panera and conducted by KRC Research between August 7 and August 8, 2017 via an online survey of 1,092 members of the general population, ages 18+.

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