National restaurant company Panera Bread announced today the addition of Cool Food Meals labelling on its menu, indicating to customers those meals that have a low impact on the climate. The new initiative was announced in conjunction with the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) introduction of the Cool Food Meals certification, which identifies dishes with a lower carbon footprint.
Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute, said:
“As kids, we were always told to eat our vegetables—and now there’s another reason to do so. A quarter of greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture and related deforestation. With the new “Cool Food Meals” certification, consumers will know if their food choices are helping the climate. The good news is that today we have more choices that can help us reduce our impact on natural resources and the climate while still enjoying tasty food.”
According to the WRI, in order to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, the carbon footprint of the food we consume daily will have to decline by 38% by 2030. The organization noted that animal-based foods account for two-thirds of agriculture-related greenhouse gas emissions, making shifting diets toward less resource-intensive foods like legumes and vegetables an important priority.
Daniel Vennard, Director of Sustainable Diets at WRI, said:
“People are becoming more aware of climate change and its effects, but many still don’t know what they can do about it. Cool Food Meals helps people understand that taking action is as simple as what we eat. A busy parent or a college student – absolutely anyone – can now go into a restaurant and by choosing a Cool Food Meal, they are part of a growing group of people who are building a climate-friendly lifestyle.”
With today’s announcement, Panera becomes the first major restaurant chain to introduce the new Cool Food Meals label. Panera stated that more than half of its entrees are Cool Food Meals, including the Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt, 10 Vegetable Soup, Fuji Apple Chicken Salad, and even Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
Niren Chaudhary, Chief Executive Officer, Panera Bread, said:
“At Panera, we are passionate about keeping the customer at the heart of everything we do, and that includes giving our guests choices to lower their impact on climate change through the food they eat in our bakery-cafes. With 55% of Panera entrees certified as Cool Food Meals, our guests have many options for delicious food with a lower carbon footprint, from salads to soups to sandwiches. Understanding the impact of what we eat on the environment is one way we can all take a small step toward combatting climate change—so as a food company, we feel a strong responsibility to share this information and empower our guests to help make a difference.”
Sara Burnett, VP of Food Values, Sustainability & Public Affairs, Panera Bread, said:
“By labeling Cool Food Meal menu items, we hope to educate our guests on sustainable options and help them understand the correlation between their meals and the climate. While many consumers are more aware of solutions such as driving less and recycling – the impact of your plate is real and just as important. By making simple changes and choosing between some of our delicious climate-friendly meals, you can help our planet – we hope our guests will feel great about their climate-friendly choice the next time they enjoy our Fuji Apple Salad, Baja Grain Bowl or Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt.”