Panera Bread menu to highlight meals with lower carbon footprints

Salads, soups and sandwiches with carbon footprints less than 5.38 kilograms of carbon dioxide will now be labeled with 'Cool Food Meal' badges

Now eaters can see how climate-friendly their meals are alongside the calorie counts. 

Panera Bread will now label which of its salads, soups and sandwiches have the smallest carbon footprints, by marking those items with menu badges labeled "Cool Food Meal," the fast-casual chain announced Wednesday. 

Only items determined to have a carbon footprint of less than 5.38 kilgrams of carbon dioxide will earn the badge, the company stated.

Panera is labeling items like grain bowls, salads, soups and sandwiches under 5.38 kilograms of carbon dioxide as  "Cool Food Meals." (Panera).

Panera is labeling items like grain bowls, salads, soups and sandwiches under 5.38 kilograms of carbon dioxide as  "Cool Food Meals." (Panera).

Eco-friendly eaters may be inclined to know meals like the broccoli cheddar soup, Chipotle chicken avocado melt, Mediterranean bowl and Fuji apple salad with chicken, along with dozens more, will now be labeled as climate-friendly by Panera. 

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The St. Louis-based restaurant chain worked with the World Resources Institute, an environmental nonprofit, to calculate its menu’s carbon footprints. The goal, the chain says, was to help restaurants reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from food by 25% in the next 10 years.

The World Resources Institute looked at Panera Bread’s ingredient list to calculate each dish's carbon footprint by analyzing emissions from supply chains and the land used to make each meal. 

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"Understanding the impact of what we eat on the environment is one way we can all take a small step toward combating 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,” Niren Chaudhary, CEO of Panera Bread, said in a statement. 

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Panera Bread isn’t the first chain to be transparent about its menu’s carbon footprint. Just Salad, a New York City-based chain, partnered with students at New York University Stern School of Business over the summer to post the carbon footprints of items on its menu, Fast Casual.com reported.