At any point in London you can see at least one, sometimes two Pret A Manger. This place was new to me and I think it was one of the most exciting parts of the trip. This place has the best philosophy and clean food. Great news four are now open in Chicago!
"Using natural ingredients and avoiding preservatives and obscure chemicals is sacred to Pret. Our sandwiches are freshly made throughout the day in each and every Pret kitchen. This fact is (partly) what makes Pret special. We make them, we sell them! We definitely don't buy from a big sandwich factory. People in the food business trust Pret. We've spent years earning their respect. This is vital to our ongoing success.
Our partners drop off the very best ingredients to our shops everyday. We don’t mind that good, natural food goes off quickly. We don't keep our sandwiches, baguettes and wraps overnight.
Pret's food team meet every Wednesday afternoon to discuss our food and everything our customers have suggested. They spend hours agonising over recipes. We launch up to 20 new ideas each month. Some are classic, some a bit weird and wacky.
As well as being fanatical about taste, the food team ensure our sandwiches and salads are free from the endless additives that plague modern food. This task is much harder than it sounds. Pret’s suppliers have to go to great lengths to meet our fanatically high standards. Our wasabi mustard is brown (not fluorescent green), our ham is pale (not bright pink) and our dried apricots are brownish (not orange). The list is endless but important." - Pret.com
I agree with everything they have to say and not only is the food clean but they recycle all of their product packaging. One of my favorite finds was there sparkling sodas and what intrigued me the most was the tag line under the flavor, "Absolutely No Nasties." I got the biggest kick out of it, because it can't be more true. They just say it like it is.
In the words of Pret A Manger, nasties are...because they allegedly are not good for and they are not naturally found in food. I'll break it down a little more...
Weird chemicals or additives.
Fructose syrup: Made from genetically modified corn, used as a sweetener. Increases the risk of weight gain and obesity, increases risk of developing Type-2 diabetes, consumption can lead to hypertension and elevated bad cholesterol levels, and potential destructive damage to the liver.
(interesting article regarding high fructose corn syrup, TheKitchn )
Sodium Benzoate: a chemical preservative. By itself it is okay in very small doses, when chemically combined with ascorbic acid it becomes a carcinogen (scary!)
Aspartame: artificial sweetener, 180x sweeter than sugar. Research has linked this sweetener to diabetes, fibromyolagia, and certain forms of cancer. Potassium Sorbate: food preservative. Used to extend the shelf life of food. Can lead to allergic reactions and nausea.
Phosphoric Acid: Acidifying agent used to give soda its tangy flavor. Consumption is linked to lower bone density. It can be used to remove rust...do you want to drink something used to remove rust?
Artificial coloring: coloring used to make food look brighter or more appealing. Many of these colorings have not been tested enough to know exactly what long term health risks they may cause. Consumption inked to hyperactivity and behavioral problems in children, and certain forms of cancer. Typically foods with artificial coloring are low in nutrients and contain processed ingredients.
Artificial flavoring: Typically not harmful but do not always taste like the actual flavor they are attempting to imitate. Why not just eat the actual food?
Fitsouffle adds to the list...
Hydrogenated oil: hydrogenation is a chemical process, and when oil undergoes this process it because harmful to your health. Hydrogenated oil is made by forcing hydrogen gas into oil at high pressures (how about that science lessen). Consumption has been shown to increase "bad" cholesterol and decrease "good" cholesterol. Diets high in hydrogenated oil or trans fat result in weight gain, diabetes, and coronary heart disease.
Caramel Coloring: Don't be fooled by the word caramel at the beginning, this coloring is not made using caramel but made by using the chemical ammonia. This is the ingredient that gives colas their brown coloring. This ingredient is often referred to as "cancer-causing."