Panera is rolling out new fountain cups this week that list how much added sugar is in its beverages.
After customers pay the cashier, they are handed a cup to take to the drink station. The idea goes, that customers will look down at the cup and have the information, literally on hand, that they need to make smart decisions in regards to sugar intake.
“We believe it’s up to companies to take the lead on transparency (and) not wait for legislation,” CEO Ron Shaich said in a statement.
The company commissioned a nationwide survey, conducted by KRC Research, that found 99 percent of 1,092 respondents didn’t know the amount of added sugar in soft drink, and 83 percent underestimated the amount.
The new “sweet facts” fountain cups will hit stores this week. They list the calorie and sugar content of a “regular cola” (250 calories, 17.25 teaspoons of added sugar) alongside six craft beverages Panera offers including Iced Black Tea, Prickly Pear Hibiscus Fresa, Plum Ginger Hibiscus Tea.
The regular cola Panera sells is Pepsi. When asked about the inclusion of Pepsi on the cup the beverage company told USA Today, “Pepsico and Panera are both on a journey to offer consumers healthier beverage options with fewer calories and less added sugar. We have a diverse portfolio of low-calorie, no-calorie, no added sugar and unsweetened beverage choices.”
“What’s worse than the amounts of added sugar found in traditional fountain beverages is that guests aren’t even aware of it,” said Sara Burnett, Director of Wellness, Panera Bread. “We want to allow guests to make informed choices relative to beverages. Guests have the right to know they could be drinking 17 teaspoons of added sugar per 20 ounces depending on the beverage choice they make. That’s more than the daily USDA guidelines. We want to give guests better information and more options.”