Here is the response I got... they're quick!
Thank you for contacting Panera Bread.
Vegetarian soups are noted with the word "vegetarian" in the title, such
as our Low Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup or our Low Fat Vegetarian
Garden Vegetable Soup. If you do not see "vegetarian" in the name,
chances are that it contains animal-sourced ingredients.
The "vegetarian chicken flavor base" does not contain any chicken.
Natural flavors, by law, do not have to be disclosed by the
manufacturer. If you have any allergenic concerns, we can ask if a
particular ingredient is contained in the natural flavor.
Many of our breads and pastries do not contain any animal-derived
ingredients. The mono & diglycerides in our breads are all
vegetable-sourced. Our cheeses, except for Asiago, Feta and Gorgonzola,
are processed with non-animal enzymes. There are many choices on our
menu for vegetarians or for those who watch their diet for religious
reasons. However, if it is a serious concern for you, you will always
want to check ingredients before you order.
You can find nutritional profiles and ingredients for all of our current
menu items on our website. On our homepage, point to "Menu & Nutrition",
then click on the category (breads, soups, etc.), then the specific
item. A page will be displayed with that item's nutrition and
ingredients information. The information displayed is for a full serving
with all sauces, dressings and condiments included.
Thank you again for contacting us. We appreciate your business and value
Customer Comment Coordinator
Here is my response:
Thank you for your quick reply. I appreciate your explaination, however the only thing I have left to ask is not what is in the natural flavors but if the natural flavors were derived from animals. I understand if you cannot divulge that information because it is not required by law, however if I'm not sure wheather or not the natural flavors come from animal products/biproducts I will not be eating at Panera bread anymore. I will also share this information with other people who would be concerned of this so that their dietary needs and choices are not comprimised.
I'll let you know what comes next.