NEW YORK (TheStreet) --Panera Bread (PNRA) CEO Ron Shaich is challenging the food industry to offer healthier, more nutritious menu selections, especially for kids. The St. Louis, MO-based fast casual restaurant CEO joined Monday morning's CNBC "Squawk on the Street" to discuss his plea to the food industry.
"We're not here to start a war. We're here to invite people to join with us in trying to do what's right. It's not complicated. No artificial ingredients, colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners, and no toys," Shaich told CNBC.
Advocating that "a young person" gets no high-calorie drink with a meal, and that restaurants offer sides outside of high-caloric fries, are some of his goals.
Specifically calling out fast food giant McDonald's (MCD), Shaich believes the chain is moving in the right direction, however, should act with further transparency regarding one of its menu items being labeled "healthier."
"I called them out on the McNugget and to advertise a single element, the fact that they'd removed the preservatives from the McNugget. But, those McNuggets we're being dipped in sauces that were laced with artificial ingredients and high calories wasn't completely of the highest integrity," Shaich noted.
Panera has been clear in relaying that all artificial ingredients, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, and colors will be removed from its menu items, he explained. However, the company still has an existing partnership with PepsiCo (PEP) to offer its drinks within stores.
"Relative to the beverages we have stated that we are not able to go that far today. There's a real core constituency that wants these beverages, but frankly, it's something that we're looking at," he said.
Shares of Panera Bread were higher during late-morning trading on Monday.
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Separately, TheStreet Ratings Team has a "Buy" rating with a score of B on the stock.
The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, notable return on equity and solid stock price performance.
The team believes its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.
Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.
You can view the full analysis from the report here: PNRA