Panera Made a Bread Bowl Glove for Holding Your Iced Coffee on Cold Days

Somehow it looks even more bizarre than it sounds…

One of Panera Bread's signature items is its bread bowl. And the word "panera" actually translates to "breadbasket" in Spanish. (Yes, I guess technically that means the chain's name is "Breadbasket Bread," but don't let that distract you.) So bread and the holding of things are both at the heart of what Panera does. And yet, I'm still not sure if that explains this bizarre new creation: Panera has created a bread bowl-shaped glove specifically designed to help people hold iced coffee.

Citing a statistic that 78 percent of Americans told them they continue to drink iced coffee even in cold weather, Panera set out to create something to protect these customers' potentially doubly-frozen hands. The result is the new Iced & Toasty Bread Bowl Glove—a hand warmer intended to make it look like you have one of Panera's bread bowls wrapped around your iced coffee holding hands. No, the glove isn't literally made out of bread; it's made from fabric like a normal glove. And yet, somehow, the photo is even stranger than the description… and the description is pretty strange.

Panera Iced and Toasty
Courtesy of Panera

So what would you pay for such an, uh, unique glove? Well, don't bother answering because this novelty product cannot be purchased. To grab a bread bowl glove, you simply have to sign up at between today and January 29. From there, 450 people will be selected at random to receive the limited-edition hand warmer for free.

All that being said, one big question remains: Why? There's no new iced coffee drink Panera promoting with the Iced & Toasty Bread Bowl Glove. They're not selling the gloves themselves, so there's no profit motive there. And unlike two years ago, they don't have a wacky item like the Double Bread Bowl on the way (as far as we know). And they're certainly not celebrating facing Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.

Luckily, a Panera spokesperson answered my plea. "With our unlimited premium coffee subscription, we've seen just how much our customers love their iced coffee, no matter what time of year," they began. "So, we thought we'd have a little fun and create a limited-edition item to help keep their hands warm this winter—and what better design than our signature bread bowl that everyone knows and loves?"

And along those lines, whether you scored a free bread bowl glove or not, Panera also wants you to know you can sign up for a three-month free unlimited coffee subscription trial right now. That is, assuming this bread-shaped glove got your attention.

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