Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA) is rolling out “clean” bacon at its stores.
The clean bacon being offered by Panera doesn’t include any items from its “No No List.” This means that it is free from “artificial preservatives, flavors, sweeteners and colors from artificial sources.”
Panera’s clean bacon includes pork, water, sea salt, sugar, celery powder and thyme extract. Celery powder acts as a natural curing agent and the bacon isn’t flavored with liquid smoke, or other artificial ingredients, to enhance its flavor.
The clean bacon being served at Panera locations has also been brined with thyme, sea salt and sugar to make it smell good. Extra applewood smoke has also been added to the bacon to increase its flavor. The company also increased the thickness of the bacon by 25%.
Panera also pointed out that there are often bits of broken bacon that it wouldn’t normally serve to customers. However, this is changing. The restaurant chain will now be using these extra bits in its salads.
The pigs that Panera uses for its clean bacon are kept on a vegetarian diet. The soup and sandwich chain also doesn’t allow antibiotics or gestation crates for pregnant pigs. The bacon is also now being kept at a room tempurature after being baked. Previously, the chain stored it in a refrigerator.
“There are few foods as beloved as bacon,” Panera Head Chef Dan Kish said in a statement. “As we approached the challenge of remaking bacon without artificial curing agents and preservatives, we took another step back to think about bacon as it should be: the perfect slice. My food philosophy is that if you’re going to truly enjoy an indulgence, like salty, smoky bacon, it should be the best you can get.”
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