Panera Bread is bringing its transparency messaging to cold drinks, with plans to display added sugar and calorie content for self-serve drinks and to introduce six new beverages with less sugar than traditional carbonated soft drinks.
Panera said it is the first national chain to label added sugar and calories for all of its self-serve beverages. Signs near its beverage stations will indicate both in numbers and in graphic form how much added sugar is in a 20-ounce serving of each drink.
"We just hope the consumers have enough information," said Chris Hollander, senior VP and head of marketing. "They deserve to know what's in their cup."
His comments echoed the line "You deserve to know what's in your cup" featured in a one-page ad set to run in Friday's Washington Post announcing the move.
Panera's new drinks and signs will start rolling out in company-operated restaurants in April and should be in franchised locations by the fall. They follow Panera's effort to overhaul the ingredients in its food to make it, as it says, 100% clean, meaning free from artificial preservatives, flavors and sweeteners and colors. The company said in January that it had reached that goal. The calorie listings also follow the chain's 2010 decision to post calories for food items on its menu boards.
The 100% clean pledge, however, only applies to food. Panera is not eliminating any drinks laden with high levels of sugar or calories from its lineup.