Panera Bread is boosting transparency about its products this week, starting with its namesake. The fast casual chain is now disclosing the whole grain content of the breads on its menu. For all breads over 50% whole grain, the company will now label servings of whole grain per slice, roll, or bagel, as well as the whole grain percentage.
Along with the new labeling system is the launch of Food Interrupted, a new, six-episode weekly digital video series that follows leaders in the food industry as they meet a variety of people who have dedicated their lives to changing America’s food system.
Created with Participant Media’s SoulPancake, ACE Content, and the Huffington Post, the series will feature Marcus Samuelsson, Hannah Hart, Sam Talbot, Kevin Curry, Chris Cosentino, and Rainn Wilson, discussing topics like clean ingredients, sugar consumption, animal welfare, and plant-based meals. The first episode is “Grains Interrupted,” featuring chef Samuelsson and farmer Jon Hammond discussing ancient grains and their role in the future of food.
Panera Bread’s vice president of marketing Scott Nelson says this is the company’s first-ever digital content platform of this kind. “Why do beverages have to be super sweet to satisfy? Does whole grain have to be relegated to ‘health food’ stores only? Do animals really require antibiotics every single day? The answer is no,” says Nelson. “In this series, we not only leverage our own brand voice to amplify these issues, but also provide a platform to empower other amazing talent and everyday heroes to shine the light on these issues.”
The goal is to spark dialogue and engagement, and Nelson sees these food issues as a social movement ripe for digital. “This is a way to use our resources and brand voice to reach consumers beyond our four walls,” he says. “We are always going to push for transparency in the food industry. We think that’s what people deserve. We’ve never heard that people want less information.”