Joining a growing number of food service companies, Panera Bread announced today it has set deadline for sourcing only cage-free eggs, including for its baked goods.
Panera said it intends to move to 100% cage-free eggs in U.S. Panera Bread and St. Louis Bread Co. bakery-cafe food menus by 2020. This will include shell eggs, hardboiled and liquid egg whites in addition to those used in sweet goods, soufflés and dressings – a total of more than 120 million eggs system wide annually.
“For more than a decade, we’ve been working to reduce antibiotic use and confinement across our supply chain,” said founder and chief executive officer Ron Shaich. “While there is more work to be done, we are within reach of a menu without antibiotics and unnecessary confinement. We are committed to transparency – which means sharing where we are and where we plan to go.”
The company is presently 21% cage-free relative to the approximately 70 million shell eggs, hard boiled and liquid egg whites prepared in cafe in 2015.
All hens that supply shell eggs and hard boiled eggs for Panera also meet the standard for no antibiotics ever and are fed a vegetarian-only diet, the company said.
In 2015, Panera’s entire pork supply – approximately seven million pounds – became gestation-crate free, raised without antibiotics and fed a vegetarian-only diet.
Panera also reported that 100% of the chicken and 100% of the roasted turkey served on Panera’s sandwiches and salads, more than 33 million pounds, is raised without antibiotics and fed a vegetarian-only diet.
Additionally, the company said this year it will serve more than four million pounds of beef, 89% of which is grass-fed, free range.
Sara Burnett, director of wellness and food policy for Panera, said the company has also recognized that customers are increasingly seeking plant-based proteins for personal health reasons and/or to reduce their environmental impact. To that end, Panera has been adding plant-based proteins like edamame and organic quinoa to its pantry of ingredients, she said.