Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
Panera Bread does a great job offering soy-free options, so even though their allergen menu could be improved we love to eat there. Since we know what the soy-free options are, we always seem to order the same thing. Recently we ate at Panera and then started looking into their online allergen menu in a little more depth. In doing so, we found something odd: everything with cinnamon contains soy.
On the surface these two products shouldn't be correlated. Cinnamon is a spice that doesn't need soy to be effective and Panera's food is largely soy-free; they even have some breads (which typically contain soy) that are soy-free. As a result, it seems odd to have soy in products based solely on the presence of cinnamon.
We couldn't come up with a solid answer for why this occurs, and it is possible that this is just a coincidence, but it seems like Panera uses a cinnamon ingredient that contains soy in their products. We aren't sure which form of soy it is: it could be a cinnamon-paste with oil, or perhaps a cinnamon blend with soy lecithin, but we now know to avoid cinnamon at Panera.
For us, this information doesn't have too much of an effect since we already knew what menu items were soy-free. But, it does help us when considering new foods, or in those split-second decision scenarios that happen if they are out of a particular product.
Have you ever seen soy and cinnamon together before?