Would Happy Meals be happier if they were healthier? Panera has cleaned up its kids menu, eliminated artificial colors and preservatives, banned "gimmicks and distractions," and focused on nutritious options paired with water and apples.
The chain has created five tenants of a healthy kids meal, and now it's challenging other chain restaurants to do the same.
"As a father of two, I am personally driven to serve foods that I want my own children to eat," said Ron Shaich, CEO of Panera. "Frankly, the typical restaurant industry kids meal doesn't serve our kids well." We shouldn't be marketing to kids. Toys and games distract from honest food choices. They come with poor options like fries and sugary beverages. This is not food as it should be. The meals we serve our children should be good food. Real options and food that is that is free of artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors and colors from artificial sources."
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This new Panera Kids Meal Promise will become a pillar of the company, and it's reaching out to other chains to make similar pledges.