Panera Bread Introduces Great Tasting, Lower-Carb Bakery Breads

ST. LOUIS, Jun 2, 2004 -- Panera Bread Company (PNRA) today announced the addition of six new, lower-carb items to its menu of award winning bakery products.

In the past two years alone, more than 1,500 items touting low-carb qualities have swamped the supermarket shelves. However, when it comes to the bakery aisle, a recent survey found that nearly half of consumers (42 percent) who have tried lower carb breads were disappointed in their taste and texture.

As early entrants to the market found, the challenge is not simply to make a bread that is lower in carbs, but to create a lower carb bread with a taste and texture comparable to traditional, handcrafted bread.

Traditional breads begin with four simple ingredients: flour, water, yeast and salt. The carbs are in the flour, but so are the protein and sugars that are crucial in delivering flavor, color and texture. Many of the lower-carb breads that were first to hit the shelves simply replaced a percentage of flour with wheat protein and fiber without making other adjustments to counter the impact on flavor and texture. As a result, many of the breads earned criticism from consumers as tasteless or spongy.

For Panera Bread, the goal was not to be part of the race to bring a lower-carb bread as quickly to the market as possible, but rather to take time to experiment with ingredients and baking techniques to ensure that its breads are the best tasting, highest quality and freshest lower-carb breads available.

Panera now offers six new items to meet the needs of carb conscious consumers, including three breads, two bagels and a breadstick. The new items, including total and net carbs, are as follows:

- Golden Original bread - 10 total carbs, 6 net carbs (per slice)
- Italian Herb bread - 10 total carbs, 6 net carbs (per slice)
- Rosemary Walnut bread - 9 total carbs, 4 net carbs (per slice)
- Plain bagel - 25 total carbs, 13 net carbs (whole bagel)
- Asiago cheese bagel - 20 total carbs, 11 net carbs (whole bagel)
- Italian herb breadstick - 13 total carbs, 6 net carbs (whole

The six new lower-carb breads now are available in all Panera Bread bakery-cafes nationwide.

Panera Bread owns and franchises bakery-cafes under the Panera Bread and Saint Louis Bread Co. names. The company is the leader in the emerging specialty bread/cafe category due to its unique bread combined with a quick, casual dining experience. As released in the May 13, 2004 earnings statement, Panera Bread operates 637 bakery-cafes (184 company-owned and 453 franchised). Additional information is available on the company's website, .

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