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Panera Challenges Industry To Improve Kids’ Menus

Panera Bread has issued its Kids Meal Promise to express the company’s beliefs about kids’ meals.

The Panera Kids Meal Promise includes these five principles:

• Clean. No artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners or colors from artificial sources.

• Worthy of trust. No gimmicks, no cartoon characters, crazy colors, toys or toy-shaped food.

• Delicious options. Let kids make their own choices from a menu full of wholesome options.

• Nutritiously paired. Growing bodies need a meal complete with nutritious sides such as organic yogurt, sprouted grain rolls or apples.

• Drink optional. Water first, then the option of adding organic milk or 100 percent juice.

Ron Shaich, Panera founder, chairman and CEO, said, “As a father of two, I am personally driven to serve foods that I want my own children to eat. Frankly, the typical restaurant industry kids’ meal doesn’t serve our kids well. We shouldn’t be marketing to kids. Toys and games distract from honest food choices. They come with poor options like fries and sugary beverages. This is not food as it should be. The meals we serve our children should be good food. Real options and food that is free of artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors and colors from artificial sources.”

Shaich said the Panera kids’ menu will be free of all artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners and colors from artificial sources identified on the company’s “No No List.”

“Not only is Panera banning a long list of artificial additives from its kids’ menu, the company provides kids a broader selection of wholesome meal choices based on its adult menu vs. the usual nuggets and fries fare. Panera has never included toys, cartoons or other child-targeted incentives as part of its kids’ meal,” Shaich said.

About the author

Mike Berger

A veteran 20-year editor of The Griffin Report who often tours various supermarkets to check out the latest trends. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys sports, his family and young, energetic grandchild.

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