The Problem with Panera’s No-No List

Panera publishes a list of ingredients it will not use, but something important is missing from their list.

As reported by Food Business News:

Panera Bread is the latest company to jump on the clean label bandwagon. The company announced May 5 the publication of its “No No List” of ingredients that will not be used to formulate its products. – From Panera publishes ‘no no list’ of ingredients it will not use” by Keith Nunes (click here to read full article)

Maybe they will achieve a “transparent menu” as expressed by Mr. Ron Shaich, founder and chief executive officer. HOWEVER, I believe consumers would benefit much more from this if Panera was scientifically transparent about WHY each ingredient was coming out. Instead of providing a list of ingredients and building the stigma around them, how about a short statement about what that ingredient is, what food science function it holds, and why it is deemed no longer necessary.

Without such explanation, this list is just another source of ambiguous diet advice based on fear. Looking at their list (available here), I can agree with some of their decision for removal. Yet other ingredients strike me as odd inclusions. What good is a clean label if you can’t also come clean about why certain ingredients had to go?

Perhaps I’ll take it upon myself (with the help of my favorite dietitians, culinologists, and fellow food scientists) to provide such a supplement to Panera’s list…

Stay tuned for Part II.

— Green-Eyed Guide

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