Panera’s ‘Cool Food Meals’ Come With a Lower Carbon Footprint

More than half of its menu boasts an eco-friendly badge.

An eco-friendly salad from Panera

Panera Bread has a new menu metric you can factor into your order selection: carbon footprint.

The cafe chain introduced “Cool Food Meals” this month: dishes designed with minimal environmental impact. Panera’s chefs worked with sustainable consulting firm Pure Strategies and the nonprofit World Resources Institute to identify each item’s carbon footprint. Items that fall below the WRI’s recommended impact threshold are accompanied by the Cool Food Meal Badge.

"The science is clear that we're not going to be able to address climate change without changing what we eat. But that doesn't mean that eating for the planet has to be boring," Daniel Vennard, the WRI’s director of sustainable diets is quoted as saying in a press release.

A green, winking smiley-face is Panera's eco-friendly food badge.

Fifty-five percent of Panera’s menu offerings are presently emblazoned with the badge. The chipotle chicken avocado melt broccoli cheddar soup, or Fuji apple salad with chicken, for example, all qualify as Cool Food Meals. 

"Understanding the impact of what we eat on the environment is one way we can all take a small step toward combating climate change,” Panera’s chief executive officer Niren Chaudhary said, per the release. “So as a food company, we feel a strong responsibility to share this information and empower our guests to help make a difference."

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