Subway Joins the Meatless-Meat Restaurants

Sandwich shops to put faux meat on the menu.

August 08, 2019

MILFORD, Conn.—Subway sandwiches shops are among the latest restaurants to welcome plant-based meat to its menu, reports Nation’s Restaurant News.

The company will introduce Beyond Meatball Marinara, a sandwich featuring a custom vegan meatball from Beyond Meat. Starting in September, the offering will be sold at 685 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada.

For a limited time, Subway will test the meatball sandwich in Jackson, Mississippi; South Bend-Elkhart, Indiana; Fresno-Visalia, California; Louisville, Kentucky; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada. A national launch will depend on test results.

Subway, whose restaurants are 100% franchised, declined to provide a retail price for the sandwich. However, most faux-meat meals cost more than the real-meat meals they imitate.  

Subway joins several major chains testing or permanently adding items made with plant-based proteins, including Burger King, Red Robin, Gourmet Burgers and Brews, White Castle, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Tim Hortons and Dunkin’. Del Taco rolled out Beyond Meat tacos in April, later reporting it was one of the best-selling new products in the chain’s history. Each chain has different methods of preparing the plant-based meat, sometimes cooking them alongside traditional beef or completely separate.

Restaurant sales of meat-alternative products jumped 268% from 2018 to 2019, according to the Dining Alliance, a group purchasing organization. The NPD Group, a marketing research organization, reports that 14% of U.S. consumers, or 43 million people, regularly use plant-based alternatives, such as almond milk, tofu and veggie burgers.