Panera also isn't swearing off genetically modified ingredients, another issue that is gaining attention in certain circles. Unlike Chipotle, which says its menu will soon be free of GMOs, Panera uses too many different ingredients to be able to make that claim. And neither chain has any plans to stop selling fountain sodas from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, even though the drinks are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.
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As for the rest of its menu, Panera says it's about halfway through the removal of artificial ingredients. It's still looking for ways to removes the artificial colors used in its bakery icings, for instance, and is testing a smoked ham in select markets that doesn't use artificial preservatives.
"We decided it was time to put all this into a clear and concise policy," Ron Shaich, Panera's founder and CEO, said in an interview.
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Ten years ago, for instance, Panera announced that it would use chicken raised without antibiotics, a move Shaich said helped significantly drive sales.