Panera Bread Leads with Better Bacon
First National Restaurant Company to Offer Clean Bacon without Artificial Additives, from Pigs Raised without Antibiotics or Gestation Crates
September 21, 2016 // Franchising.com // ST. LOUIS - Panera Bread (NASDAQ: PNRA) is leading the restaurant industry with better bacon. Today, Panera announced that it will serve clean bacon on its sandwiches and salads that is free of artificial preservatives, flavors, sweeteners and colors from artificial sources prohibited by the company’s No No List, and sourced from pigs that meet Panera’s animal welfare standards for reduced confinement and antibiotics.
Industry-Leading Commitments Panera’s clean bacon is made with six simple ingredients: pork, water, sea salt, sugar, celery powder and thyme extract. The clean bacon:
- Is cured without artificial additives. Celery powder is used as a natural curing agent, in place of additives common to conventionally cured meats, like sodium nitrite, sodium phosphate and sodium erythorbate.
- Includes no artificial flavors. No conventional liquid smoke or artificial flavor enhancements.
- Is sourced with animal welfare in mind. Since 2015, Panera’s bacon has been sourced from pigs raised on a vegetarian diet, without antibiotics or gestation crates for pregnant sows.
The journey to clean bacon was kick started by Panera’s No No List commitment, but became a yearlong passion project for the culinary team when head chef Dan Kish took the opportunity to rethink Panera’s bacon experience.
“There are few foods as beloved as bacon,” said Kish. “As we approached the challenge of remaking bacon without artificial curing agents and preservatives, we took another step back to think about bacon as it should be: the perfect slice. My food philosophy is that if you’re going to truly enjoy an indulgence, like salty, smoky bacon, it should be the best you can get.”
- More belly: When making perfectly sized bacon strips, there are often broken pieces and trimmings. It turns out these bits work perfectly as chopped bacon for Panera’s salads, which allows the company to use premium cuts for its crumbles and helps minimize waste.
- Herb-brined: Inspired by a Thanksgiving turkey, the clean bacon is brined with aromatics, like thyme, and seasonings, like sea salt and sugar.
- Extra applewood smoke: Panera has long used real smoke on its bacon, but chose to develop a deeper, more complex bacon flavor for its clean bacon by applying extra applewood smoke.
- The perfect bite: 25% thicker than before, for maximum crunch with minimal sliding on a sandwich.
- Crispier slices: Instead of being stored in the refrigerator, Panera’s clean bacon is now taken out of the oven and served at room temperature so that each guest enjoys crispier slices.
“Clean bacon is an example of how you can amplify when you simplify,” said Panera founder and CEO Ron Shaich. “By removing artificial additives, we made a switch to better ingredients, better texture and, ultimately, better flavor. We’re not just offering clean bacon; it’s bacon that has been elevated in every way.”
Today, Panera is sharing a taste of its new clean bacon at a gallery space in New York City’s Meatpacking District. The interactive space will feature Panera’s clean bacon story, with the culinary team on hand to sample exclusive bacon-centric creations, like bacon mac & cheese and BLT sliders (not available in bakery-cafes). “The Art of Bacon” gallery space will be open to the public on Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 22 Little West 12th St. Panera is inviting bacon fans to celebrate their love of clean bacon on social media using the hashtag #baconfess. To learn more visit www.baconfess.com.
In 2015, Panera served 2 million pounds – or more than 115 million slices – of bacon on its sandwiches and salads including its most beloved sandwich, the Roasted Turkey Avocado BLT. Today, all meats served at Panera are clean by its No No List standards and the company is 95% of the way to a clean food menu, with just a handful of bakery items left in the works.
About Panera Bread
Thirty years ago, at a time when quick service meant low quality, Panera set out to challenge this expectation. We believed that food that was good and that you could feel good about, served in a warm and welcoming environment by people who cared, could bring out the best in all of us. To us, that is food as it should be and that is why we exist.
So we began with a simple commitment: to bake fresh bread every day in our bakery-cafes. No short cuts, just bakers with simple ingredients and hot ovens. Each night, any unsold bread and baked goods were shared with neighbors in need.
These traditions carry on today, as we have continued to find ways to be an ally to our guests. That means crafting a menu of soups, salads and sandwiches that we are proud to feed our families. Like poultry and pork raised without antibiotics on our salads and sandwiches. A commitment to transparency and options that empower our guests to eat the way they want. Seasonal flavors and whole grains. And a commitment to removing artificial additives (flavors, sweeteners, preservatives and colors from artificial sources) from the food in our bakery-cafes. Why? Because we think that simpler is better and we believe in serving food as it should be. Because when you don’t have to compromise to eat well, all that is left is the joy of eating.
We’re also focused on improving quality and convenience. With investments in technology and operations, we now offer new ways to enjoy your Panera favorites – like mobile ordering and Rapid PickUp for to-go orders – all designed to make things easier for our guests. As of June 28, 2016, there were 2,007 bakery-cafes in 46 states and in Ontario, Canada operating under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co. ® or Paradise Bakery & Cafe® names. For more information, visit panerabread.com or find us on Twitter (@panerabread), Facebook (facebook.com/panerabread) or Instagram (@panerabread).
SOURCE Panera Bread