It all started with chicken.
On Oct. 1, Irving-headquartered international restaurant chain Pei Wei Asian Kitchen launched “The Wei Forward”, a call for transparency centered around allowing consumers to make informed dining decisions. The mission is to show guests the ingredients in their food, while adhering to nutritional value, dietary preferences, and overall health. Pei Wei says that to “deliver world-class flavor, it should begin with simple, fresh ingredients that are minimally processed and free of artificial color and preservatives.”
“We are serious about being industry leaders in the ‘clean label’ movement, and we are challenging others in the industry to join us in serving real food to their guests.”
And, four chicken-based dishes are already meeting their new standards, including their top-selling item: Wei Better Orange Chicken.
To truly emphasize this commitment, Pei Wei launched the initiative by publishing the full ingredient list for the Wei Better. The featured flavor? Fresh, all-white-meat, never frozen, chicken.
But this isn’t just about the restaurant’s Pan Asian fare. Pei Wei believes that the clean label movement goes beyond their own business, creating a petition to the Food and Drug Administration in an effort to demand ingredient transparency from major restaurant chains across the country.
“We are serious about being industry leaders in the ‘clean label’ movement, and we are challenging others in the industry to join us in serving real food to their guests. They deserve no less,” Pei Wei CEO J. Hedrick said in a release.
Pei Wei is even going viral to confront its fast-casual competitors—it has already challenged Panda Express to reveal its ingredients in a series of cheeky tweets from the Pei Wei Tiger (@PeiWei_Tiger). From personalized memes to savage clapbacks, the Tiger’s feed is full of quirky antics that’ll probably make you LOL. All tweets come from the Pei Wei Twitter pages.
Transparent ingredient labels are only one facet of the initiative. The “Yes Wei List” features fresh ingredients and minimally processed foods. On the other hand, the “No Wei List” shows how the company wants to be free of misleading claims, along with no artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors.
This movement is more than just a quick marketing ploy. So far, Pei Wei has plans for the movement up until 2020, when they intend to fully feature a menu free of artificial ingredients. By the end of this year, four more menu items will also be joining the clean label standards list.
Because Pei Wei wants to accomplish more than improving their own image—the business desires a healthier future for all.
NEED TO KNOW
Pei Wei is one of many food industry companies that has its headquarters and significant operations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In addition to the HQ, Pei Wei also has a test kitchen in the North Texas region. If you wish to participate in Pei Wei’s petition, you can sign it here. If you want to learn more about “The Wei Forward” initiative, you can learn more here.
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