Panera CEO Is Eating on $4.50 a Day for a Week

Ron Shaich says he can't stop thinking about food

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 17, 2013 9:12 AM CDT

(Newser) – Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich is very hungry. "I can't stop thinking about food," he wrote on his LinkedIn blog yesterday. That's because he was on day 4 of a weeklong challenge to eat on just $4.50 per day. He's doing it to raise awareness of how people on food stamps live: That's how much a person on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program receives, Shaich explains. His SNAP Challenge comes during Hunger Action Month—and it also comes as the House is set to discuss, this week, a proposal that could see SNAP funding cut by $40 billion over the next 10 years, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Shaich did all his shopping for the week on a $31.50 budget. He's trying to eat as healthily as possible, but was forced to rely on carb-heavy foods and couldn't afford many fruits and vegetables, he writes. By yesterday, his thoughts were "consumed by food," he continues. "When is my next meal? How much food is left in my cabinet? Will it get me through the week? What should I spend my remaining few dollars on? What would I eat if I had no budget at all?" Joining Shaich in the challenge is Feeding America CEO Bob Aiken. Cory Booker undertook a similar challenge last year, spending just $29.78 for a week's worth of food.

In this May, 2002 file photo Panera Bread Co. CEO Ron Shaich stands behind a counter in a St. Louis cafe.   (AP Photo/Tom Gannam, File)
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