Pret A Manger set to complete national rollout of full ingredient labels
Move follows launch of Pret Five-Point Allergy Plan earlier this year
24 September 2019: Pret A Manger (Pret) has today announced that all 391 of its UK shops will have full ingredient labels on all freshly made products by the end of the week.
Over the last six months, Pret has carried out one of the biggest operational changes in the business’s history, introducing full ingredient labels in shops across the UK, supported by new labelling technology and a comprehensive training programme on this development for over 9,000 Team Members.
As a result of the change, all of Pret’s freshly made sandwiches, salads, baguettes and soups are now labelled on pack each day with a full list of ingredients, with the presence of any of the 14 EU declarable allergens highlighted in bold.
The roll-out follows a successful pilot in two shops in London Victoria in the wake of last year’s inquest into the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse in 2016.
Since November, Pret Team Members have labelled over 30 million products, using two new piece of equipment: individual recipe cards which enable Team Members to prepare food in kitchens on site and print off a bespoke label; and new tablets to keep a record of each product that leaves the kitchen.
The initiative forms a key part of Pret’s Allergy Plan, launched in May 2019. The plan, which is designed to help every customer with allergies get the best possible information about Pret food and drink, sets out five priorities for Pret to help people with allergies. These include the launch of new menu tablets in every shop, the removal of allergens from a range of Pret products, and a commitment to produce quarterly food safety reports.
Earlier this month, the Government announced that new legislation will come into force in October 2021 which requires food businesses to fully label all food pre-packed for direct sale. The changes Pret has made come two years ahead of the new policy coming into effect.
Pano Christou, Pret CEO, commented: “When we launched the Pret Allergy Plan, we said we would learn from the past and make meaningful changes to help customers with allergies.
“In less than a year, we have made the biggest change to Pret kitchens in our history. Software developers have created new labelling technologies. Walls have been knocked down to provide extra space in our kitchens. Electricians have been to every shop, weaving wires through some of the oldest buildings in the UK.
“It has been a real team effort. I know it’s been challenging for our shops while we’ve made all these changes. I want to thank every Team Member for what they have achieved.
“Our task now is to keep delivering on the Pret Allergy Plan. Pret’s commitment is absolutely clear: to make sure that every customer has the information they need to make the right choice for them.”
Tanya Ednan-Laperouse, of the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, commented: "One year on from Natasha's inquest, we are extremely pleased that Pret a Manger has delivered on its pledge to learn the lessons and bring meaningful change for all allergy sufferers.
"Pret has shown that with a strong corporate determination to do the right thing, the food industry is capable of providing the necessary full allergen and ingredient labelling to give consumers the appropriate information and choices.
"Their research also shows 88 per cent of the public support Natasha's Law, making it the most important priority for food retailers and customers amid the growing epidemic of allergies in the UK. Pret has taken the lead and we urge others to follow suit and prevent families in the future from suffering as we will always do."
Lynne Regent, Chief Executive, Anaphylaxis Campaign commented: “Millions of people are living every day with allergies – which is why we strongly believe full ingredient labelling is a necessary step.
“Pret has shown through the action it has taken that full ingredient labelling is possible in busy kitchens. We hope this will serve as an encouragement for other food businesses to follow suit ahead of the legislation coming into force.”
Bruno Nobrega, Manager of one of the first Pret shops to pilot the new labels, added: “I’m incredibly proud of my team for showing that it was possible to label every single product in our kitchens.
“When we first started the trial last year, I thought it would take months for us to get used to a new system.
“My team proved me wrong and the feedback from customers has been brilliant.”
Notes to editors: • 371 Pret UK shops now have full ingredient labels on all freshly made products. • The remaining 20 shops are planning to introduce the new labels before the end of the week. • Over the last six months:
- 2,300 Pret Managers have attended workshops on the new labelling process.
- Specialist trainers have spent over 1500 hours in Pret kitchens supporting Team Members with the new labels. • In developing the new labels, Pret carried out UK research to understand how customers felt about the proposed changes. The research showed:
- 88% of UK consumers believe it is important that retailers list full ingredients on their packaging, to help customers understand what ingredients go into each product;
- Listing full ingredients on products is the joint most important priority for customers eating out at food-to-go retailers, alongside reducing the use of plastic packaging and reducing food waste – more important than providing healthier options, or using local ingredients.