In collaboration with World Resources Institute (WRI), Panera Bread has announced it is the first national restaurant company to label climate-friendly “Cool Food Meals” on its menu – meals that have a low impact on the climate. Panera says that more than half of its entrees are Cool Food Meals, including guest favorites like the Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt, 10 Vegetable Soup, Fuji Apple Chicken Salad and Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
WRI has established a maximum recommended daily carbon footprint for a person’s diet, which is 38 percent smaller than the current average. WRI research finds this is needed by 2030 to help mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. Panera’s low carbon entrees (Cool Food Meals as designated by WRI) will be labeled to assist in that initiative.
“At Panera, we are passionate about keeping the customer at the heart of everything we do, and that includes giving our guests choices to lower their impact on climate change through the food they eat in our bakery-cafes,” says Niren Chaudhary, chief executive officer at Panera Bread. “With 55% of Panera entrees certified as Cool Food Meals, our guests have many options for delicious food with a lower carbon footprint, from salads to soups to sandwiches. Understanding the impact of what we eat on the environment is one way we can all take a small step toward combatting climate change—so as a food company, we feel a strong responsibility to share this information and empower our guests to help make a difference.”
“By labeling Cool Food Meal menu items, we hope to educate our guests on sustainable options and help them understand the correlation between their meals and the climate,” says Sara Burnett, vice president of food values, sustainability and public affairs at Panera Bread. “While many consumers are more aware of solutions such as driving less and recycling – the impact of your plate is real and just as important. By making simple changes and choosing between some of our delicious climate-friendly meals, you can help our planet – we hope our guests will feel great about their climate-friendly choice the next time they enjoy our Fuji Apple Salad, Baja Grain Bowl or Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt.”
“The science is clear that we’re not going to be able to address climate change without changing what we eat. But that doesn’t mean that eating for the planet has to be boring,” says Daniel Vennard, director of sustainable diets at World Resources Institute. “Cool Food Meals have a low impact on the climate, making them a delicious way to help the planet. This new certification is about spotlighting the dishes that help people build climate-friendly lifestyles.”