Going for ‘clean label,’ Panera removes ingredients from grocery retail line

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

Clean Label: Panera removes ingredients from grocery retail line
A year after the bakery-café chain announced removing ingredients for its foodservice business, Panera is now doing the same for its retail products.

Last summer, Panera announced its plans to remove​ artificial preservatives, sweeteners, colors, and flavors from its bakery-cafés by the end of 2016. This month, the company announced that the same will go for its grocery store retail products​.

“The packaged goods industry has historically relied on artificial ingredients to extend shelf stability,”​ the company said in a press release. “Panera has experience working to remove such additives, having already committed to a clean food menu across its nearly 2,000 U.S. bakery-cafes by the end of this year.”

A PR move?

There has been an increasing demand for “clean-label”​ products, and the trend is creeping up into becoming an industry standard​.

But Panera’s “no no list”​ was criticized by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). “Just because something is artificial or its name is hard to pronounce, doesn’t mean it’s unsafe,”​ CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson said in a press release when Panera first announced its list.

“Some of the additives Panera is ditching are perfectly innocuous, such as calcium propionate or sodium lactate—so those moves are more about public relations than public health,” ​he added.

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