Restaurant chain Panera Bread on December 17 reported progress in meeting the goals of its animal welfare initiative, where the company seeks to switch entirely to serving cage-free eggs and crate-free pork. The company also reported it is getting close to achieving its goal of serving meat from animals that have never received antibiotics.
“We've intentionally reduced or eliminated the use of antibiotics and confinement because we believe those are among the most critical animal welfare issues we can impact," said Blaine Hurst, Panera Bread’s executive vice president, chief transformation and growth officer.
Panera Bread’s eggs
The company reported that 18 percent of the more than 70 million eggs it served — including shell eggs, hard- boiled and liquid egg whites — came from laying hens raised in cage-free environments. All hens that supply shell eggs and hard-boiled eggs for Panera also met the standard for no antibiotics ever and vegetarian-only diet.
Panera Bread chicken and turkey
In 2014, Panera Bread marked 10 years serving chicken that received no antibiotics ever. This year, 100 percent of the chicken served in sandwiches and salads met this standard, and had a vegetarian-only diet. Nearly all the roasted turkey also received no antibiotics ever.
Panera’s pork supply
Several years ago, Panera Bread began transitioning to pigs raised in environments without the use of gestation crates or stalls. In 2014, 91 percent of Panera’s pork supply was sourced from farms that did not use crates or stalls. Likewise, 91 percent of the company’s pork supply came from pigs that never received antibiotics.
By January 2015, Panera intends for its entire pork supply — approximately 8 million pounds — to meet or exceed these standards.