Panera Bread has Labeled Menu Items as Climate Friendly

Panera Bread has taken the steps to become the leading restaurant chain in labeling items as climate friendly. Having been the first chain to disclose the calorie counts of their menu items, this is the second time that Panera Bread has surprised everyone with something controversially helpful.

Whenever the ingredients of their meals – whether they’re sandwiches, soups, or salads – have a footprint of less than 5.38 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent, the menu item will be proclaimed a “Cool Food Meal” with the help of a badge, a designation from the World Resources Institute.

Panera Bread collaborated with the aforementioned environmental think tank to calculate the carbon footprint of every item on the menu, with 55% of the menu’s entrees getting to earn the badge.

The change is meant to raise awareness about the correlation between food and greenhouse gas emissions, according to CEO Niren Chaudhary. The badges will will customers make an informed decision when choosing what to order. Grains, fruits, and vegetables are on the lower end of the scale, and dairy products and meat or on the higher. Customers might change their diets to accommodate these discoveries.

The global food system makes up 37% of global greenhouse gas emissions, as observed by the United Nations in a 2019 report. The food industry has been trying to become more involved in the fight against climate change in recent years, promising to limit waste and add more plant-based proteins to menus; one of the more notable instances being when Starbucks, one of the most famous chains in the world, said that they’re striving to be more “resource positive”.

Panera Bread has been focused on combating climate change for several years now. In 2016, they pledged to lower their carbon emissions by 15% per square foot by 2022. So far, the company has been on track to reaching its goal.