Panera is the latest company to declare they are going to make their food sound healthier. While they portray it terms of simplicity and customer demands, really, it’s a marketing gimmick and may end up disappointing the consumer.
The restaurant chain is doing away with or reformulating dozens of ingredients as its tries to make its food healthier.
When Panera Bread founder and CEO Ron Shaich considers the foods featured on the bakery-cafe’s menu, he pictures serving them to his 11-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son.
“My kids are eating Panera 10 to 11 times a week,” Shaich tells Fortune. “I don’t want to serve them junk.”
That explains why Shaich has been on a personal, decades-long mission to bring healthier and “clean” ingredients into Panera’s chain restaurants while also advocating better transparency about that ongoing process.
No one should be eating at the same fast food place 10-11 times a week. Good food choices start at home and it seems to be totally missing in the average American household. Panera as health food? Hardly.
Note that the beverages such as sodas still contain a ton of sugar and artificial flavors. Are customers going to give that up? How about those empty-calorie-filled scones, cookies and pastries? I can pronounce “sugar” just fine but that doesn’t make it healthy.
Will this change make the food taste better or be more of a value? I doubt it.
There is no harm in moving to better quality ingredients. But does it not make all that much scientific sense in this bandwagon context. Orac thinks the ploy is just caving to irrational requests and sounds exactly like the goofy Food Babe rants. It’s a mistake to cater to anti-science advocates. Of course, Vani Hari is happy about this: “This is the direct result of the ongoing pressure you and the Food Babe Army have put on companies to serve safer and more healthful ingredients. Thank you!” Is it safer? You can’t say that. Is it more healthful? You really can’t support that either! Great – let’s let nonsense rule, that will work out well.
If the Food Babe Army represents average Americans, we so ignorant about how food gets to our plates (no surprise) and clueless about chemistry that we easily fall for these PR stunts, wasting time and money seeking hollow, self-righteous solutions that make little sense.