Panera to start listing the amount of sugar in its drinks

Panera Bread will launch new cups that display the amount of added sugar and number of calories in seven of its drinks.

The move is the latest by the company to appeal to Americans who are increasingly concerned about what’s in their food and drinks. 

In the past few years Panera and other chain restaurant have been tweaking their recipes and removing artificial ingredients to match consumers’ changing tastes.

Panera said the new cups will be available in eight cities this week, including New York, Chicago and St Louis. 

They will be in all of the chain’s more than 2,000 locations by the middle of September.

This photo provided by Panera Bread shows a 20-ounce fountain drink in a cup that lists the amount of added sugar and calories in seven of the restaurant’s drinks, including cola and teas. Panera said the new cups will be available in eight cities the week

CEO Ron Shaich said the cups list the amount of added sugar in teaspoons instead of grams because it’s less confusing. 

‘I think the only people who really understand grams are drug dealers and Walter White,’ Shaich explained, referring to the drug-dealing character from the TV show Breaking Bad.

Added sugar is considered to be one of the worst ingredients in the modern diet according to many experts. 


American teenagers are increasingly shunning fizzy drinks, a CDC report revealed.

Soda drinking among high school students in the US dropped by over one-third from 2007 to 2015.

Meanwhile there has been a uptick in the number of American children drinking diet soda.

Researchers say the new figures are encouraging as sugar-sweetened beverages are one of the largest contributors of added sugars to adolescents’ diets.

However, they noted that the overall prevalence of Americans drinking sugary drinks, at any age, remains high and more approaches need to be put into place for the downward trend to continue. 

The report, as part of the CDC’s weekly Morbidity and Mortality report, took its data from the YRBS – a US survey that provides representative data on health behaviors among students in grades nine to 12.

The survey asked the high schoolers how many times that had drunk ‘a can, bottle, or glass of soda or pop, such as Coke, Pepsi, or Sprite’ and not counting diet drinks.

Researchers found that the number of students drinking soda daily had significantly fallen from 33.8 percent in 2007 to 20.4 percent in 2015. 

Though the safest bet is to avoid any added sugar, the American Heart Association says that the maximum amount of added sugars someone should eat in their day is nine teaspoons for a man or six teaspoons for a woman. 

The new Panera cups show that a 20 ounce soda has 17.25 teaspoons of added sugar and 250 calories. 

And as far as drinks made by the restaurant, its blood orange lemonade has 8.25 teaspoons of added sugar and 160 calories, and the plum ginger hibiscus tea has no added sugars or calories.

The chain began listing sugar counts near its soda fountains in March when it launched its new iced teas, lemonades and other fruity beverages.

Currently in the United States seven percent of all calories consumed can be attributed to sugary drinks – which barely contribute any nutritional value. More than a third of Americans are currently obese. 

And that is despite a huge drop in the consumption of sugary drinks in the last few years – which has declined 27 percent since 1998.

Since making the initial switch in March, eight percent of Panera’s fountain soda-drinking customers have switched to iced teas and other non-bubbly drinks, the company said.

So these new cups will likely encourage even more people to make the switch.  

Shaich said PepsiCo, which provides Panera’s soft drinks, was told about the new cups, but he declined to describe the discussions. 

PepsiCo said in a statement that it offers several drinks with no sugar added and no calories, and that the company and Panera ‘are both on a journey to offer consumers healthier beverage options.’

A study conducted by Consumer Reports showed that simply drinking 20 ounces of water instead of the same amount of soda will save you 119 cups of sugar.

Making this switch will protect your body from absorbing 52 extra pounds of refined sugar over 12 months, the study said.