More and more restaurants and food companies are hopping on the train of no artificial ingredients, and Subway is the latest passenger.
The sandwich food chain, whose entire marketing is based on offering a healthier and fresher alternative to hamburgers, has announced in a report of The Associated Press that it plans to gradually remove all artificial flavors and preservatives from its American menu by 2017.
According to an interview of Elizabeth Stewart, Subway’s head of corporate social responsibility, the food chain has been working for years at offering their customers constantly improved ingredients.
In more recent efforts, Subway has been looking for healthier replacements for the caramel color used in ham or roast beef. By the end of 2015, the company also plans to completely eliminate the preservative called proprionic acid from its turkey, replacing it with the much-healthier vinegar.
Also part of the improvements in ingredients, Subway will change the artificial dye Yellow No. 5 currently used in its toppings with “banana peppers colored with turmeric.” Stewart also mentioned that the chain has been working on making its sauces and cookies healthier.
With smaller food companies boasting more “wholesome” products, the major players of the industry are compelled to adhere to the purging of artificial ingredients.
With so many important figures, such as McDonalds, Nestle, Tyson Foods and Taco Bell, joining the trend of removing unnatural ingredients from one or more products, this practice will soon become the norm.
But the timing of Subway’s announcement might not be the best, as the private-held company might be facing some minor decline in sales. Even though there are no official sales figures, industry tracker Technomic reported that Subway earned in 2014 in sales around $475,000 only in the US.
Subway is also conducting business in an environment where the definition for what’s healthy is constantly evolving. Some years ago, people thought it meant looking at nutritional statistics like calories and fat, but younger generations seem to be more interested in food that’s “natural,” “local,” or “organic.”
And even though Subway’s ads specifically market it as a “fresher” alternative, it seems not everyone sees it as the healthiest or most natural product available.
According to Tony Pace, Subway’s director of marketing, the chain has already seen a better response from the general customer, building on its image as a place for low-fat options. Pace added that the chain is set on keeping up with the how the customer’s attitude evolves.
Image Source: Onward State