Subway had a halo over its head for years as it was known as the healthy alternative to those greasy Big Macs and Whoppers. Then, whether justified or not, they were under fire after a popular health blogger called them out for using an infamous “Yoga mat ingredient” in their bread.
Now they’re jumping an a recent “all-natural” trend and just announced that they’re removing Artificial Colors, Flavors and Preservatives from their food.
The move is going to be gradual as Subway said it can’t remove all of the ingredients just yet, mostly because of the size of the chain, so we won’t see a full makeover until about 18 months from now.
Elizabeth Stewart, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Subway said:
“Removing some of these ingredients will be relatively straightforward. Others will require significantly more effort … because of our size and scope. But, we felt it was important to set an ambitious goal as a means to give us something to shoot for and demonstrate our unwavering commitment to wellness.”
The sandwich shop will however introduce a new roast beef recipe, with garlic and pepper, and nothing sketchy added to it, so that’s where their starting point for this move lies.
You’d think Subway would have pioneered this all-natural movement, but it took fast food chains such as Carl’s Jr., Chipotle and even Taco Bell to get this train moving before Subway even thought about it, but they have taken baby steps throughout the years:
SUBWAY Restaurants’ “Always Improving” Historical Timeline:
2015 – Introduced a new recipe roast beef that contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives and is made by roasting beef with increased levels of garlic and pepper.
2015 – Removed Caramel color from steak and pastrami.
2014 – Increased whole grains and removed caramel coloring from 9-Grain Wheat bread.
2014 – Each 9-grain footlong now contains 100% of the whole grain requirement and recognized by the Whole Grains Council with the Whole Grains Stamp.
2014 – All SUBWAY® sandwiches and salads free of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
2014 – New premium-cut white meat chicken strips contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
2014 – Removed Azodicarbonamide from all breads.
2013 – Spinach added as a core vegetable offering.
2012 – Introduced chopped salads nationally as a new way to enjoy a fresh, made-for-you salad.
2012 – Italian white bread now vegan friendly.
2012 – Met nutritional guidelines to receive and use American Heart Association Heart Check certification.
2012 – Offers a variety of sandwiches under 400 calories.
2011 – Fortified US Breads with calcium and vitamin D.
2011 – Nutrition calculator, available on subway.com, provides customized sandwich nutrition data.
2010 – Launched “A Better Breakfast” nationwide, which allows customers the same customization and veggie options they have come to expect at a SUBWAY® restaurant but now with egg white and omelet sandwiches.
2009 – Launched global sodium reduction initiative.
2008 – Artificial Trans Fats removed globally.
2007 – Added Fresh Fit Meals™ for adults and kids to menu, providing our customers new meal choices such as sliced apples, bottled water and milk.
2007 – Increased fiber content in wheat bread.
2001 – Complete ingredient and allergen listings available for sandwiches and salads.
2001 – Introduced new sauces and seasoned breads – including topped wheat bread
1998 – One of the first QSRs to list full nutrition for all menu items on detailed brochure and on subway.com.
1997 – “7 under 6” menu introduced (now just referred to as the “Under 6” menu) and started promoting those healthier options on napkins, cups, clings, tray liners and menu boards.
1983 – One of the first QSRs to start baking bread in restaurants.
1965 – First sandwich shop opened in Bridgeport, CT, providing customers with made-to-order, handcrafted sandwiches at a great value while providing exceptional, personalized service.
It’s good to see that Subway finally decided to take this natural step forward, even if it was probably forced by their competitors and negative PR.