In conjunction with the launch of its new breakfast sandwiches featuring 100% real eggs, Panera Bread has announced that it has petitioned the Food & Drug Administration to establish a clear definition for the term “egg.”
Panera’s standard sandwiches feature “100% real eggs,” which the company said means freshly prepared, cracked shell eggs and/or egg whites with no additives.
In developing its newest breakfast sandwiches, Panera said it discovered that current FDA regulations do not establish a definition or a standard of identity for eggs. Without this, companies can sell and advertise items that contain multiple additives, such as butter-type flavors, gums and added color, under the generic term “egg.”
Panera specifically called out competitors —- including Chick-fil-A, Starbucks and Burger King -— on using "eggs" that contain additives such as butter flavors, gums and added colors.
Panera said its goal in petitioning FDA is to better support and inform guests in the absence of a true definition for the term “egg.” The company added that all of its breakfast sandwiches adhere to the brand’s “100% clean food” commitment. The new sandwiches feature extra-large, freshly cracked eggs cooked to order and served over-easy on a brioche bun made daily by a baker in every U.S. location and topped with classics like Vermont white cheddar cheese and thick-cut bacon.
“Panera and our competitors use the FDA definitions to guide our product descriptions and names,” said Sara Burnett, Panera’s director of wellness and food policy. “But in the case of ‘eggs,’ we have no guidance. Brands can say they offer an egg sandwich, but sell an egg product that contains multiple additives.“
After discovering FDA’s lack of definition for the simple term “egg,” Panera began exploring menus from other companies in the food industry to better understand what’s in their "egg” sandwiches. The company said it found that 50% of the top 10 fast casual restaurants that sell breakfast have an “egg” made of at least five ingredients.
“Responsible companies will be transparent about the food items they serve, even if regulation does not require them to do so,” said Blaine Hurst, Panera president and CEO. “At Panera, we believe 100% real eggs are the basis for a great breakfast sandwich.”