Panera wants to help customers choose more climate-friendly meals when they order from the chain, so their menu will now include “Cool Food Meals” badges on certain menu items. Menu items with the new badge are considered “low carbon” items and are more environmentally conscious.
The Cool Food Meals badge was developed by the World Resources Institute, a non-profit organization that focuses on food, forests, water, energy, cities, climate, and ocean. Panera is the first national chain restaurant to implement the badge on its food menu for customers to reference when making meal choices.
Meals with the designated badge are those that produce less harmful greenhouse gases to get to the plate, meaning they have a lower impact on the climate. Oftentimes these climate-friendly meals are plant-based or meat- and dairy-free, but on Panera’s menu more than half of the meals qualify—and not just those that are vegetarian or vegan-friendly. It also has to do with portion size and the amount of meat and/or dairy included.
Some fan-favorite menu items from Panera earn the Cool Food Meals badge, like the chipotle chicken avocado melt, 10-vegetable soup, Fuji apple chicken salad, and broccoli cheddar soup. Chances are your go-to order might be considered climate-friendly, but now the badge will allow you to be sure.
Chief Executive Officer of Panera Bread Niren Chaudhary said in a press release that this new initiative allows Panera customers to make more conscious decisions while fighting the good fight against climate change.

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