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Panera came with excellent kids menu, challenges industry

Staff Writer |
Panera Bread issued its Kids Meal Promise to express the its long-held beliefs about kids meals and commitments relative to its Panera Kids menu.

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The promise is meant to be a challenge to the restaurant industry and to all food manufacturers who offer kids food.

Panera is the first national restaurant company with a kids menu that meets all of five tenets of the Kids Meal Promise.

This is including:

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

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

- Full of delicious options. Let kids be kids. Let them be picky. Let them make their own choices from a menu full of tasty, wholesome options.

- Nutritiously paired. Growing bodies need a meal complete with nutritious sides. Not fries, not onion rings. Options like organic yogurt, sprouted grain rolls, or apples.

- Drink optional. Kids meals shouldn’t encourage kids to drink a sugary beverage. Panera Bread's never have, never will. Water first, then the option of adding organic milk or 100% juice.

"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," Shaich said.

"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 that is free of artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors and colors from artificial sources."

The Panera Kids menu – featuring an array of soups, salads, pasta and sandwiches – will be free of all artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners and colors from artificial sources identified on the company’s No No List starting September 7.


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