Pret A Manger rolls out ingredients labelling pilot

Pret A Manger has revealed details of the ingredient labelling scheme being introduced following the death of a teenage customer.

In a blog on the company’s website, CEO Clive Schlee announced the business had launched its first full ingredient labelling pilot in a shop in London’s Victoria.

He described the move as the latest in a series of changes Pret had made since it learnt of the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse in 2017.

Ednan-Laperouse died on a flight from London to Nice after eating an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette bought at London’s Heathrow Airport. The dough in the baguette contained sesame, to which she was allergic.

In October this year, Pret pledged it would learn from the teenager’s death and that it wanted to see “meaningful change come from the tragedy.”

It said prominent allergen warning stickers would be placed on all individual freshly made products, additional allergen warning signs would be displayed in shops and that full ingredient information, including allergens, for all products would be available online and in shops.

It made full ingredient information for its products available online in the same month, and in November placed allergen awareness stickers on the packaging of its sandwiches and salads for the first time.

Now, the business has begun rolling out ingredients labels at its Bresseden Place store, where it will look to gain feedback from customers.

Schlee wrote: “We’ll keep improving the process and the labels over the coming weeks, and this first approach might not be the final version. We’ll be using the pilots to listen to our customers, especially people with allergies, and learn what they like and don’t like.”

Schlee added that the initial roll-out had taken some time, as it was vital there was minimal chance of human error when applying the stickers to the packaging.

“The wrong label on the wrong sandwich can be worse than no label at all. Our teams make our sandwiches and salads in small batches (typically around 12 to 15 at a time) throughout the day in over 350 different Pret kitchens all over the country. We have to perfect the process to minimise the chance of human error.”

Pret said it would share the learnings from its trial with the government and wider food industry.

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