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Panera Warm Grain Bowls rolled out as new menu category

Fall launch reflects consumer interest in plant-forward, protein-rich options

Panera Warm Grain Bowls deliver a world of flavors this fall. The St. Louis, Mo.-based chain rolled out new grain bowls that include hearty whole grains, greens, vegetables, and lean proteins. Globally-inspired sauces finish off the Panera Warm Grain Bowls. The new menu category reflects Panera’s desire to combine “wholesome, hearty and delicious,” said the chain.

The fast-casual chain offers Baja and Mediterranean options. “Interest in bowls that feature an abundance of nutrient-dense, fresh, layered ingredients, lean protein, veggies, grains and flavorful sauces is on the rise,” said Dan Wegiel, Panera EVP, chief growth and strategy officer. “We believe this product is the best example of what we stand for when we say ‘good and good for you.”

Panera Warm Grain Bowls feature flavorful grains. Guests can add plant-based options, as well as add chicken raised without antibiotics. These meals easily fit into a flexitarian diet, one that is on the rise. About 39 percent of consumers say their diets are extremely or totally different than before, according a 2019 study by the International Food Information Council (IFIC).

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And food research firm NPD reports that 60 percent of consumers desire more protein. Panera’s new grain bowls provide at least 29 grams of protein, reported the chain in its announcement. IFIC also reports that about 11 percent of consumers report eating healthier protein sources than before.

Panera Bread Warm Grain Bowl menu

  • The Baja Grain Bowl includes cilantro-lime long grain brown rice, combined with red and golden quinoa, and grilled citrus pepper chicken raised without antibiotics. Panera tops these with black bean and corn salsa, house-made salsa verde and red grape tomatoes. The Baja Grain Bowl is then finished off with fresh avocado, feta crumbles and Greek yogurt.
  • Panera serves cilantro-lime long grain brown rice in the Mediterranean Grain Bowl. It features red and golden quinoa on a bed of fresh arugula, layered with grilled citrus pepper chicken raised without antibiotics, and red grape tomatoes. The chain adds kalamata olives, diced cucumbers, hummus, lemon tahini dressing, and feta crumbles. It then tops it off with Greek yogurt and a slight squeeze of lemon.

“When we create a new menu item, the most important consideration for Panera is taste,” added Panera Vice President of Wellness and Food Policy Sara Burnett. “It has to be delicious and crave-worthy, but we never lose sight of the good-for-you element.”

In addition, guests can order Panera’s Warm Grain Bowls through its website or a major third-party delivery app. Through a recently-announced partnership with DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats, Panera delivers to guests’ doorsteps.

As part of the launch promotion, MyPanera members earn double visit credit September 23 to 29, 2019 on eligible purchases. And the bakery-cafe chain posted additional rewards credit details at mypanera.com.

Also, Panera Bread provided additional ingredient and nutritional information about its warm grain bowl menu on its website.

Photo credit: Panera Bread

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