Reading Time: 2 minutes Panera's menu is 70 percent plant-based after just one customization (Photo: Panera Bread / Twitter)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Major US eatery Panera Bread has committed to turning 50 percent of its menu plant-based, driven by concerns around animal welfare and the climate crisis.

The bakery-cafe chain, whose menu is already 25 percent meat-free and 60 percent plant-based with just one customization, aims to have ‘plant-based innovation in every category’ by next year.

‘Positive impact’

Speaking to Business Insider, Vice President of Wellbess and Food Policy at Panera Sara Burnett said: “I think in an earlier phase than plant-based, but I think that that’s actually going to become a bigger motivation for consumers over time.”

She added that consumers are becoming ‘more knowledgeable’ about the current climate crisis.

The company is also looking at ways it can have a positive impact on the environment – such as how it donates unsold baked goods at the end of its business hours.

“On the flip side, it’s actually about saying, okay, what do we fill our pantry with?” added Burnett. “What is the impact of these ingredients?”

Environmental concerns

Panera isn’t the only eatery making changes to its menu due to environmental concerns.

Last year, London gastropub The Three Stags ditched beef and said it was ‘considering adding plant-based alternatives’ after a plethora of media outlets linked the Amazon fires to cattle farming.

“Our diet must change and we cannot continue to exploit the planet so unnecessarily,” the business wrote on Facebook.

“There may be many other ways to reverse climate change – the fast-food industry growing food instead of meat for example, but let’s be honest here and make no mistake.

“What ‘mankind’ is doing to the Amazon in order to feed beef to billions of greedy mouths is deplorable and though my business is not vegetarian or vegan I feel the responsibility not to sell beef as a statement, overwhelming.”

Liam Gilliver

Liam Gilliver

Liam is the Deputy Editor and Social Media Coordinator for Plant Based News. He has written for a number of top publications including Gay Times, Attitude Magazine, Oh Comely, and The Huffington Post - and is the author of 'We're Worried About Him'.