Panera Bread has revealed a new animal welfare policy concerning its broiler chicken supply, which includes a commitment to only source slower-growing chicken breeds by 2024.
In a press release issued on December 20, Panera Bread announced its intention to align its broiler chicken policy with the Global Animal Partnership’s Broiler Chicken Standard.
In addition to committing to only using slower-growing broiler breeds in its supply chain, the restaurant chain also promised to:
- Provide birds more space by reducing its stocking density
- Offer improved environments for the chicken, including litter, lighting and enrichment
- Ensure that birds are rendered unconscious using multi-step controlled atmospheric stunning
“As a restaurant serving more than 10 million people a week, we have the platform and purchasing power to encourage positive changes in animal welfare practices. We also have a responsibility to the farmers and ranchers who care for these animals. They have been essential partners over the years and we respect the investments they will need to make as we work together to find economically viable and sustainable models that lead to higher welfare birds,” Sara Burnett, director of Wellness and Food Policy at Panera, stated in the press release.
Progress in meeting other supply chain goals
In the same press release, Panera Bread reported that it is progressing toward its goals relating to animal antibiotic use. All of the chicken, turkey and pork it serves now comes from animals raised without antibiotics.
In addition to being produced without animal antibiotics, All bacon, breakfast sausage and ham served on sandwiches and salad in 2016 came from farms that did not use gestation crates.
Panera Bread is moving closer to its goal of sourcing only eggs from cage-free operations by 2020. The company reported that in 2016, 28 percent of the 70 million shell eggs used on sandwiches and salads were cage-free eggs, up from 21 percent in 2015. System-wide, 16 percent of all 120 million eggs used across the menu were cage-free.
Panera has also extended the commitment to be cage-free to all Canadian bakery-cafe food menus by 2025.
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