SOURCE: Panera Bread

Panera Bread

March 03, 2009 08:47 ET

Panera Bread® Named Healthiest Fast Food Restaurant by Health Magazine

America's Leading Bakery-Cafe Concept Awarded Top Spot for Variety of Healthy Menu Options, Whole Grain Breads and Half-Sized Items

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, MO--(Marketwire - March 3, 2009) - Health magazine recently named Panera Bread the healthiest restaurant in the fast food restaurant category in the country. In the March issue, Panera was praised for offering customers the choice of apples or baked chips as a side item, Panera's You Pick Two® half-size soups, salads and sandwiches, and antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken options. The expert judging panel also recognized Panera's children's items including squeezable organic yogurt, PB&J (with all-natural peanut butter) and grilled organic cheese on white whole-grain bread.

"It is truly an honor to be recognized by Health magazine for offering a 'comprehensive menu of healthy choices for every meal,'" said Ron Shaich, Panera Bread's Co-founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer. "We strongly believe that every detail matters, which is why we work so hard to offer our customers a variety of quality, wholesome ingredients. This recognition serves as great reinforcement for Panera Bread to keep giving our customers menu options they can feel good about."

To conduct the research for this article, an expert panel of dieticians and nutritionists surveyed and scored the nation's 100 largest fast food chain restaurants based on factors such as the use of healthy fats and preparations, healthy sodium counts in entrées and availability of nutritional information, among other criteria.

"Panera is proud to offer a variety of choices and flexibility with our menu items," said Scott Davis, Panera's Chief Concept Officer. "Our You Pick Two is a great option for customers looking to manage calories -- it enables them to create wholesome, flavorful combinations by pairing some of our delicious lower in fat and calorie soups, salads and sandwiches."

Panera Bread freshly bakes more bread each day than any bakery-cafe concept in the country. Every day, at every location, trained bakers craft and bake each loaf from scratch, using the best ingredients to ensure the highest quality breads. Additionally, as part of its Operation Dough-Nation® program, Panera Bread bakery-cafes collectively donated a retail value of more than $40 million worth of bread and baked goods in 2007 to charitable organizations that feed those in need in local communities.

About Panera Bread

Panera Bread Company owns and franchises 1,252 bakery-cafes under the Panera Bread® and Saint Louis Bread Co.® names as of December 30, 2008. With its identity rooted in handcrafted, fresh-baked, artisan bread, Panera Bread is committed to providing great tasting, quality food that people can trust. Highlighted by antibiotic free chicken, whole grain bread, select organic and all-natural ingredients and a menu with zero grams added trans fat, Panera's bakery-cafe selection offers flavorful, wholesome offerings. The menu includes a wide variety of year-round favorites, complemented by new items introduced seasonally with the goal of creating new standards in everyday food choices. In neighborhoods across the United States and in Canada, guests are enjoying Panera's warm and welcoming environment featuring comfortable gathering areas, relaxing decor, and free internet access provided through a managed WiFi network. At the close of each day, Panera Bread bakery-cafes donate bread and baked goods to community organizations in need. Additional information is available on the Company's website, http://www.panerabread.com. Panera also holds a 51% interest in Paradise Bakery & Cafe, Inc., owner and franchisor of 73 bakery-cafes as of December 30, 2008.

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