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Panera to Remove Artificial Ingredients from At-Home Products

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Panera Bread declared that it will give up using non-natural flavors, sweeteners, preservatives and colors from synthetic sources in its Panera at Home products.

Panera plans to remove its so called ‘No No List’ of additives from its entire Panera at Home portfolio of nearly 50 grocery products by the end of this year.

Notably, under its Panera 2.0 program, the company expects to remove all artificial ingredients, including colors, flavors, preservatives and sweeteners, from its food across its 2000 bakeries/cafes by 2016-end. Panera has already removed artificial ingredients from 90% of its food items, and expects to reach 100% by the end of 2016. These menu offerings should maintain the company’s popularity among health-conscious customers.

Notably, in January, the company said that it has removed all artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives, which were present on its 'No No List', from its soups in all restaurants in the U.S.

In order to increase shelf life, the packaged goods industry relies heavily on synthetic additives and preservatives. Preservatives play a vital role in maintaining the texture and color of frozen food though they are not good for health. Panera has tried to simplify the ingredients and use natural ingredients like rosemary extract for maintaining the texture and flavor of frozen food. In fact, the company has also improved its overall ingredient quality, which includes changing the conventional bleached flour to unbleached wheat flour.

The Panera at Home business focuses on selling Panera branded products to other retailers, including refrigerated soup, mac & cheese, pasta, and salad dressings along with artisan frozen bread, sliced sandwich bread and coffee. With this transparency about ingredients in its system, the company is trying to provide consumers with quick meal ideas that are less dependent on synthetic preservatives and are good for health.

Panera currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Stocks to Consider                                  

Some better-ranked stocks in the restaurant industry include Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. TAST, Famous Dave's of America Inc. DAVE and Restaurant Brands International Inc. QSR. All these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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