ST. LOUIS, Oct. 14, 2020 /PRNewsCentre/ — Six in ten Americans say they have seen impacts from climate change in their own communities, but many don’t know what they can do to help1. With approximately 25 percent of greenhouse gases created from food production—what you choose to eat can help make a real difference. Today, in collaboration with World Resources Institute (WRI), Panera announces it is the first national restaurant company to label climate-friendly "Cool Food Meals" on its menu—those meals that have a low impact on the climate, making them a delicious way to help the planet. More than half of Panera entrees are Cool Food Meals—including guest favorites like the Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt, 10 Vegetable Soup, Fuji Apple Chicken Salad – and even Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
Just like recommended calories per day, WRI has established a maximum recommended daily carbon footprint for a person’s diet, which is 38 percent smaller than the current average. This is in line with what WRI research finds is needed by 2030 to help mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. And, just as Panera was the first to label calories on its menu, the company is now the first to label low carbon entrees (Cool Food Meals as designated by WRI) — menu items that have a low impact on the climate and can help keep you below your daily limit.
"At Panera, we are passionate about keeping the customer at the heart of everything we do, and that includes giving our guests choices to lower their impact on climate change through the food they eat in our bakery-cafes. With 55% of Panera entrees certified as Cool Food Meals, our guests have many options for delicious food with a lower carbon footprint, from salads to soups to sandwiches," said Niren Chaudhary, Chief Executive Officer, Panera Bread. "Understanding the impact of what we eat on the environment is one way we can all take a small step toward combatting climate change—so as a food company, we feel a strong responsibility to share this information and empower our guests to help make a difference."
In general, plant-based foods have a lower impact on the environment than meals with meat and dairy ingredients; however, you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to keep your carbon footprint down – it’s also the amount of these foods on your plate that matters. If, each year, every person in the U.S. swapped in just 10 Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt sandwiches with chips for 10 quarter-pound burgers with fries, it would reduce emissions by 77 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is equivalent to taking more than 16 million passenger vehicles off the road for a year.
"By labeling Cool Food Meal menu items, we hope to educate our guests on sustainable options and help them understand the correlation between their meals and the climate. While many consumers are more aware of solutions such as driving less and recycling – the impact of your plate is real and just as important," said Sara Burnett, VP of Food Values, Sustainability & Public Affairs, Panera Bread. "By making simple changes and choosing between some of our delicious climate-friendly meals, you can help our planet – we hope our guests will feel great about their climate-friendly choice the next time they enjoy our Fuji Apple Salad, Baja Grain Bowl or Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt."
"The science is clear that we’re not going to be able to address climate change without changing what we eat. But that doesn’t mean that eating for the planet has to be boring," said Daniel Vennard, Director of Sustainable Diets at World Resources Institute. "Cool Food Meals have a low impact on the climate, making them a delicious way to help the planet. This new certification is about spotlighting the dishes that help people build climate-friendly lifestyles."
To learn more and for a full list of Panera Cool Food menu items, visit PaneraBread.com/CoolFoodMeals, or order a Cool Food Meals choice now at delivery.panerabread.com. To learn more about the science behind the Cool Food Meal label, visit CoolFood.org/consumer.
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 bread fresh 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 for wellness 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 or not using artificial additives (preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, and colors from artificial sources on our No No list) in 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 Pick-Up® for to-go orders and delivery – all designed to make things easier for our guests.
As of September 29, 2020, there were 2,118 bakery-cafes in 48 states and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread® or Saint Louis Bread Co.® names. For more information, visit panerabread.com or find us on Twitter (@panerabread), Facebook (facebook.com/panerabread) or Instagram (@panerabread).
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SOURCE: Panera Bread