Panera Bread today announced its intention to initiate an industry-wide effort to improve the welfare of broiler chickens by 2024. The company is also proud to share its continued progress on animal welfare issues and the reduced use of antibiotics across its U.S. Panera Bread® and St. Louis Bread Co.® bakery-cafe menus.
Effort to Lead Industry on Broiler Chicken Welfare
Today, Panera is announcing its intention to lead the industry to align its broiler chicken policy with the Global Animal Partnership’s Broiler Chicken Standard. Going forward, we will work with animal welfare experts, growers, suppliers, competitors and other market participants to identify cost-effective solutions for our industry. With help of other market participants, we hope to achieve the following across the restaurant industry by 2024:
- Use new broiler breeds recognized as having higher welfare outcomes
- Provide birds more space (reduced stocking density)
- Offer improved environments, including litter, lighting and enrichment
- Ensure birds are rendered unconscious using multi-step controlled atmospheric stunning
“We started 13 years ago with chicken raised without antibiotics because we believed that a national restaurant company could use size and scale to affect change in the marketplace,” said Ron Shaich, CEO and founder of Panera Bread. “Our journey to reduce antibiotics has taught us that truly transformational change requires moves by many stakeholders. It is our hope that leadership by companies like Panera will continue to be a catalyst for animal welfare across the industry.”
“As a restaurant serving more than 10 million people a week, we have the platform and purchasing power to encourage positive changes in animal welfare practices. We also have a responsibility to the farmers and ranchers who care for these animals. They have been essential partners over the years and we respect the investments they will need to make as we work together to find economically viable and sustainable models that lead to higher welfare birds,” said Sara Burnett, Director of Wellness and Food Policy at Panera.
2016 Update on Animal Welfare Progress
Poultry: 2016 – 100% of poultry on sandwiches and salads now raised without antibiotics
- With the introduction of RWA deli turkey in September 2016, 100% of the chicken and turkey on our sandwiches and salads is now raised without antibiotics and vegetarian fed. This means 86% of our poultry supply, or approximately 34 million pounds, met these standards.
Pork: 2016 – 100% of bacon, breakfast sausage and ham served on sandwiches and salad was raised without antibiotics and was gestation crate free
- All bacon, breakfast sausage and ham served on sandwiches and salads at Panera – or approximately 7.7 million pounds – were raised without antibiotics and gestation crates for pregnant sows. This represents more than 93% of our total pork supply.
Beef Cattle: 2016 – 95% of beef was grass fed, free range- In 2016, 95% was of our beef – or approximately 4 million pounds – was grass-fed, free range – up from 89% in 2015.
Laying Hens (Eggs): 2016 – 16% of all eggs system-wide were cage free- In 2016, 28% of the 70 million shell eggs used on sandwiches and salads were cage-free, up from 21% in 2015.
- System-wide, 16% of all 120 million eggs used across the menu were cage- free.
- Panera has also extended the commitment to be cage-free to all Canadian bakery-cafe food menus by 2025.
Panera’s Animal Welfare Beliefs
Panera also shared an expanded position on animal welfare practices, based on the UK Farm Animal Welfare Committee’s Five Freedoms. Panera’s Animal Welfare Beliefs are rooted in a definition of raised humanely put forth by the UK Farm Animal Welfare Committee’s Five Freedoms: freedom from hunger or thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury or diseases; freedom from distress; and freedom to express normal behavior.
For more information on Panera’s animal welfare journey, visit panerabread.com/animal-welfare.