For immediate release
July 28, 2015
Certain food categories at Au Bon Pain contain on average more sodium, saturated fat and calories than similar categories at McDonald's, Burger King
NEW YORK — An analysis of some items on Au Bon Pain’s nutrition menu (dated 6/23/15) in comparison to items on McDonald’s (6/26/15) and Burger King’s (7/15) nutrition menus has revealed that some of the bakery-café chain’s offerings contain more sodium, calories and saturated fat than those of similar categories of food at McDonald’s and Burger King. Au Bon Pain’s brand promise includes “healthful” food.
A sample Au Bon Pain meal of a Whole Turkey and Swiss Sandwich, Tyrol’s Sea Salt and Vinegar potato chips, medium Coke and a chocolate chip cookie has more calories, saturated fat and sodium than a sample McDonald’s meal of a Big Mac, medium fries, medium Coke and a chocolate chip cookie.
The analysis of each of the three chains’ nutrition menus showed:
- Au Bon Pain’s whole lunch/dinner sandwiches and wraps contained, on average, more sodium, saturated fat and calories than did sandwiches, wraps, and burgers available on McDonald’s or Burger King’s nutrition menus;
- The average amount of sodium in Au Bon Pain’s medium-sized (12 oz.) soups was 1036mg—equivalent to five-and-a-half orders of McDonald’s medium-sized french fries;
- The average amount of sodium in Au Bon Pain’s Specialty Salads (excluding the Side Garden Salad) combined with the dressing Au Bon Pain recommends for that particular Specialty Salad was 1367mg—equal to seven orders of McDonald’s medium french fries. This was 91% of the American Heart Association’s daily recommended sodium limit.
Some Au Bon Pain restaurants are in medical facilities, with locations in over 60 hospital campuses. In some of these, Au Bon Pain replaced McDonald’s restaurants.
“As the director of a nonprofit that has devoted decades of service advocating for better health-care outcomes, I am appalled by the findings of this report,” said Anthony Feliciano, Director of the Commission on the Public’s Health System, “In the face of alarming rates of obesity and diabetes-related illnesses, in my opinion the food-service alternatives are remarkably substandard in the very institutions low-income patients turn to for their health care. Some of Au Bon Pain’s menu offerings fail to meet what I consider acceptable standard intake levels of sodium, saturated fat, or calories. Further, in my view, its menu choices are unaffordable for too many low-income folks. Only when there’s true choice will it be possible to make a difference.”
UNITE HERE, which authored the report publishing this nutritional analysis, also recently sent a letter to investors explaining ways in which Au Bon Pain has lagged in certain growth measures compared to other large bakery-cafés in the five years after it was acquired by private equity firm LNK Partners in 2008.
The full analysis, including fully cited sources and methodology, is available at http://www.nobonpain.info.