Panera Bread today offered details regarding its progress on sourcing only responsibly raised livestock and poultry, following the introduction of its new Food Policy in June.
As part of Panera’s commitment to have a positive impact on the food system and provide transparency, the company is sharing progress on further reduction of antibiotic usage and confinement for farm animals in its U.S. supply chain for Panera Bread and St. Louis Bread Company bakery-cafes.
“We believe higher levels of animal welfare result in higher quality food, and that – combined with our culinary expertise — leads to better taste. Panera Bread intends to continue adopting practices that allow for farm animals to be raised in environments that support their health, fitness and freedom,” said Dan Kish, SVP of Food.
The company detailed progress in the following areas:
- Pigs: Several years ago, Panera says it began transitioning to pigs raised in environments with “reduced confinement,” meaning that the use of gestation crates or stalls was reduced or eliminated to allow pregnant sows more space for movement. In 2014, that meant 91 percent of Panera’s pork supply was sourced from farms where pregnant sows are able to roam freely in group housing. These pigs also receive no antibiotics ever and are fed a strictly vegetarian diet. By January 2015, Panera intends for its entire pork supply — approximately 8 million pounds — to meet or exceed these standards.
- Cattle: In 2014, 80 percent — or more than two million pounds — of Panera’s beef was grass-fed, sourced from cattle that were able to roam and graze freely in pasture.
- Laying Hens (Eggs): In 2014, 18 percent of the more than 70 million eggs the company served — including shell eggs, hard-boiled and liquid egg whites — came from cage-free laying hens; all hens that supply shell eggs and hard-boiled eggs for Panera also met the no-antibiotics and vegetarian-fed standard.
- Poultry: In 2014, Panera marked 10 years serving chicken that received no antibiotics ever. This year, 100 percent of the chicken served in sandwiches and salads met this standard, and had a vegetarian-only diet. Nearly all of Panera’s roasted turkey, which accounts for almost a third of the turkey served on the chain’s sandwiches and salads, also received no antibiotics ever.
“For years, Panera has been working closely with farmers, ranchers and experts, to learn how we can tangibly improve conditions for the farm animals in our supply chain. We’ve intentionally reduced or eliminated the use of antibiotics and confinement because we believe those are among the most critical animal welfare issues we can impact,” said Blaine Hurst, Executive Vice President, Chief Transformation and Growth Officer. “Today’s announcement isn’t just about sharing our journey and aspirations; it’s about taking action. We know there is definitely room for improvement, but today we’re proud to reflect on progress.”
“Providing transparency is a critical step for any food business to take if they are serious about farm animal welfare. Panera Bread has done that today by communicating their current standards,” said Leah Garces, USA Director Compassion in World Farming. “Food companies have the power to make a big difference to the lives of farm animals, and that begins with examining their supply chain and identifying opportunities where welfare standards can be improved. We commend Panera Bread for their transparency and look forward to seeing their progress over time.”
With its commitment to improving the welfare of its animal supply chain, Panera joins Nestlé, which in August formed a partnership agreement with NGO World Animal Protection with the same goal. The agreement, which means that the hundreds of thousands of farms that supply Nestlé with their dairy, meat, poultry and eggs will have to comply with tighter animal welfare standards, made Nestlé the first major food company to form an international partnership with an animal welfare NGO.