Panera announces it’s dropping artificial ingredients

The company said it will be removing artificial sweeteners, preservatives and flavor enhancers by 2016, and joins several food brands moving towards more natural options.

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The company announced this week that it would join the likes of McDonald’s Kraft, PepsiCo, Hershey, Nestle, Chipotle and many more who are addressing the growing demand from consumers to have more natural ingredient options in their food.

For its part, Panera is eliminating artificial sweeteners, preservatives and flavor enhancers by 2016.

“We’re trying to draw a line in the sand in the industry so that consumers have an easy way to know what’s in the food they buy,” Panera chief executive Ron Shaich told The New York Times.

As more companies hop on this bandwagon, questions are coming up over how genuine these moves are in reality. For instance, if it’s so easy to remove some of these ingredients, why weren’t these decisions made long ago, or avoided in the first place?

These companies are agreeing to remove certain potentially disagreeable ingredients while keeping in others—yet still reaping the benefits of positive PR for removing just some of the unnatural ingredients.

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