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Panera Bread Becomes First National Restaurant Company to Offer ‘Clean’ Soup Menu

ST. LOUIS, Jan. 06, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA) announced that its entire U.S. bakery-cafe soup menu no longer contains artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives on its No No List – many of which are pervasive in restaurant and retail soups.

Panera sells approximately 200 million servings of soup a year, rotating daily between 10 core soups in addition to seasonal favorites including Turkey Chili and Autumn Squash. Broccoli Cheddar is the Company’s top seller.

Common commercial soup ingredients – such as hydrolyzed soy and corn protein, maltodextrin and sodium phosphate – no longer appear in any of the Company’s bakery-cafe soups. Not only has Panera removed all No No List additives, its chefs also took the opportunity to focus on improving overall ingredient quality, such as moving from conventional bleached flour to unbleached wheat flour.

“I want to create soups that our guests will love,” said Dan Kish, Panera Bread’s Head Chef. “And equally important, I want them to understand and feel confident in the ingredients that go into those soups. We’ve long been advocates of transparency – providing full ingredient information online – and with these new recipes we have even more to be proud of today.”

This latest clean milestone comes after more than a year of recipe testing by Panera chefs, who focused on both clean ingredients, and preserving the familiar tastes and textures of its classic soups.

“A lot of care went into these recipes – in fact, we revised Broccoli Cheddar 60 times – but we did have simplicity on our side. Time and again, we’ve found that when you replace artificial additives with simpler ingredients, you achieve a better taste,” said Kish.

Panera is celebrating Broccoli Cheddar with a 60-second video trailer that shares the story behind the clean remake of this fan favorite and encourages guests to tweet, using hashtag #soupreview, for a chance to have their review featured as part of the ever-growing video trailer. Fans can participate through March 31, 2016. For more information, visit panerasoupreview.com.

The Company is also a leading retailer of packaged refrigerated soups, which it offers through approximately 10,000 club and grocery stores across the U.S. These soup varieties will be free of all No No List additives by the end of 2016.

About Panera Bread

Thirty years ago, at a time when quick service meant low quality, Panera set out to challenge this expectation. We believed that food that was good and that you could feel good about, served in a warm and welcoming environment by people who cared, could bring out the best in all of us. To us, that is food as it should be and that is why we exist.

So we began with a simple commitment: to bake fresh bread from fresh dough in every bakery-cafe, every day. No short cuts, just bakers with simple ingredients and hot ovens. Each night, any unsold bread and baked goods were shared with neighbors in need.

These traditions carry on today, as we have continued to find ways to be an ally to our guests. That means crafting a menu of soups, salads and sandwiches that we are proud to feed our families. Like poultry and pork raised without antibiotics on our salads and sandwiches. A commitment to transparency and options that empower our guests to eat the way they want. Seasonal flavors and whole grains. And a commitment to removing artificial additives (flavors, colors, sweeteners and preservatives) from the food in our bakery-cafes. Why? Because we think that simpler is better and we believe in serving food as it should be. Because when you don’t have to compromise to eat well, all that is left is the joy of eating.

We’re also focused on improving quality and convenience. With investments in technology and operations, we now offer new ways to enjoy your Panera favorites – like mobile ordering and Rapid Pick-Up for to-go orders – all designed to make things easier for our guests. As of September 2015, there are 1,946 bakery-cafes in 46 states and in Ontario, Canada operating under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co.® or Paradise Bakery & Cafe® names. For more information, visit panerabread.com or find us on Twitter (@panerabread), Facebook (facebook.com/panerabread) or Instagram (@panerabread).

Matters discussed in this news release and in our public disclosures, whether written or oral, relating to future events, including any discussion, express or implied, regarding our intention to remove artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors and preservatives from our packaged refrigerated soups by the end of 2016 and statements made therein, contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27Aof the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements are often identified by the words "believe," "positioned," "estimate," "project," "target," "plan," "goal," "assumption," "continue," "intend," "expect," "future," "anticipate," and other similar expressions, whether in the negative or the affirmative, that are not statements of historical fact. These forward looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks, uncertainties, and assumptions that are difficult to predict, and you should not place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements. Our actual results and timing of certain events could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of certain factors, including, but not limited to, those discussed from time to time in our reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Report on Form 10- K for the fiscal year ended December 30, 2014 and our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. All forward-looking statements and the internal projections and beliefs upon which we base our expectations included in this release are made only as of the date of this release and may change. While we may elect to update forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we expressly disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

Media Contact: Amanda Cardosi Amanda.Cardosi@panerabread.com

Source:Panera Bread Company