Panera Bread Company (NASDAQ: PNRA) is marking the ten-year milestone of serving meat raised without antibiotics. Panera was one of the first national restaurants to buy proteins raised without antibiotics at scale. Today, all of the chicken, roasted turkey, sausage and ham used in Panera Bread’s salads and sandwiches are raised without the use of antibiotics. In 2004, Panera introduced chicken raised without the use of antibiotics on its Strawberry Poppyseed Salad. Today, Panera offers 23 items that feature proteins raised without antibiotics after years of working with farmers, suppliers and industry experts to meet the new demand. “When we began to serve meat raised without antibiotics, we were driven by two things: taste and a belief in simpler, cleaner ingredients,” says Scott Davis, Panera’s Chief Concept Officer. “At the beginning, there wasn’t a national supply available, but our customers pushed us to continue the journey.” Pew Health Initiatives reports that 80 percent of antibiotics currently sold in the United States are for livestock. Many consumers have taken notice. According to a Consumer Reports survey, 24 percent of consumers said their usual supermarket doesn’t carry meats or proteins raised without antibiotics. Among those polled, 82 percent would buy antibiotic-free (ABF) proteins if they were available. 1 Last month, the Food and Drug Administration announced steps to phase out the use of certain antibiotics in livestock feed. “We support efforts to reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock and applaud the FDA’s efforts to elevate the debate and push for changing a broken food system,” says Davis. Panera continues to work with its suppliers to increase the number of proteins on its menu that are raised without antibiotics and is currently exploring alternatives for beef and pork. “We’ve worked closely with Panera Bread to change the way turkey is raised and bring it to tens of thousands of customers,” says Irwin Simon, Director of Plainville Farms.
Panera Bread founder, Chairman and CEO Ron Shaich concluded: “Panera began with a simple commitment: to bake fresh bread every morning in every bakery-cafe. That single, powerful commitment set the stage for a series of deliberate, challenging decisions that have essentially made this company what it is—how we conduct business, the kind of cultural values we want to reflect and the impact we want to have on society. Our efforts to serve proteins raised without antibiotics are a demonstration of that commitment.”1 Meagen Bohne and Jean Halloran, “Meat on Drugs,” Consumer Reports, June, 2012 About Panera Bread As of September 24, 2013, there are 1,736 bakery-cafes in 45 states and in Ontario, Canada operating under the Panera Bread ®, Saint Louis Bread Co. ® or Paradise Bakery & Cafe ® names. This includes 850 Company-owned bakery-cafes and 886 Franchise-operated bakery-cafes. We feature high quality, reasonably priced food in a warm, inviting and comfortable environment. With our identity rooted in handcrafted, fresh-baked, artisan bread, we are committed to providing great tasting, quality food that people can trust. Nearly all of our bakery-cafes have a menu highlighted by antibiotic-free chicken, whole grain bread, and select organic and all-natural ingredients, with zero grams of artificial trans-fat per serving, which provide flavorful, wholesome offerings. Our menu includes a wide variety of year-round favorites complemented by new items introduced seasonally with the goal of creating new standards in everyday food choices. In neighborhoods across the United States and in Ontario, Canada, our customers enjoy our warm and welcoming environment featuring comfortable gathering areas, relaxing decor and free Internet access. Our bakery-cafes routinely donate bread and baked goods to community organizations in need. Additional information is available on our website, http://www.panerabread.com.