Panera among top brands leveraging Earth Day to show environmental position

For Earth Day (April 22nd), fast-food chain Panera crafted a rather unique promotion: a Bread Bowl Bike product giveaway. The Bread Bowl Bike is a real, usable bicycle that is deliberately colored olive green to match the brand’s color scheme, and instead of a basket at the front, it’s outfitted with a larger “bread bowl” that’s not actually made of bread (so that it remains functional as a basket).

During the pandemic, people have been exercising more in general, and bike sales were way up in 2020. For Panera, the savvy bike giveaway shows off the company’s signature food item and branding while also reinforcing their corporate stance on the environment. It’s unclear how many bikes were created and given away to customers, but the idea is to remind Panera patrons that they can complete simple errands without resorting to vehicle usage and creating more CO2 emissions.

Panera also ran a 50% discount on hot soups for Earth Day, and the company was one of the first food chains to label its products so that customers would see the carbon footprint of what they were ordering. The “Cool Food” labels were designed to help guests “understand the climate impact of their plates.”  

Attitudes towards climate change and the environment continue to evolve in America, and Panera’s latest campaign makes sense as countries across the globe continue to come together to save the Earth. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, Panera’s customers are more environmentally conscious than other establishments like Chick-fil-A and Chipotle, as well as the general US population. Panera has not been alone in this mission either, as numerous big brands all created campaigns for Earth Day, including Procter & Gamble, Budweiser, Carl’s Jr. and Beyond Meat, Apple TV+, Sodastream, and more.