The next time you visit Panera Bread, you'll find a subtle reminder on your cup to choose a drink wisely. Panera debuted a new 20-ounce cup today labeled with "The Sweet Facts" – the calorie count and added sugar in seven Panera drinks.
Most are from the restaurant's new "craft beverages" line, which includes teas and lemonades with varying levels of sweetness. The first item listed is Regular Cola, which clocks in at 17.25 teaspoons of added sugar, and the last is Unsweetened Black Iced Tea, with zero. As the cup also informs, one teaspoon contains four grams of sugar.
While these facts obviously guide you toward drinking Panera's in-house beverages, the company has shown a long-term commitment to transparency and health advocacy. Despite legislative delays, Panera complied with the Menu Labeling and Retail Food Labeling laws at all stores in summer 2017, a year before the original deadline. Additionally, calorie information was added to menu boards back in 2010.
As part of the sugar awareness campaign, Panera conducted an online survey of 1,092 adults this August and found that just 9 percent knew the recommended daily limit for added sugar, and 99 percent didn't know how many grams of sugar were in a 20-ounce cup of cola.
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In a statement, CEO Ron Shaich said he believes it should be up to businesses to move forward with more transparent menus and healthier options, despite government slow-downs.
"With the combination of more information and better options available, we're seeing our guests begin to trade from fountain soft drinks to our new clean beverages," Shaich said.
The cups debuted in New York, Los Angeles, and a handful of other major cities today, USA Today reported, and will be at all Panera locations by the end of September.
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