Subway is committing to removing all artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives from all of its menu items including salads, sandwiches, soups, and cookies across all North American restaurants over the next 18 months. Subway says it will make these improvements gradually without sacrificing taste. To kick off the next 18 months, the brand is currently introducing a new roast beef recipe, roasted with garlic and pepper to its more than 27,000 U.S. restaurants. The new roast beef is just the latest example of the brand’s ongoing efforts to improve its menu, following the introduction of new, cleaner label grilled chicken strips in January.

It is no secret that others have made their own cleaner label announcements, however due to Subway’s size and scale as the world’s largest quick serve, it is important to note that this major commitment is one the brand could not enter into overnight. Also, because of the diversity and growing nature of Subway’s menu, the brand had to consider more ingredients than many other quick serves and fast casuals have had to. Most of all, the brand wanted to make these changes without driving up the price of its sandwiches, as it is important to Subway that food stays affordable for customers.

“Back in 1965, when Fred DeLuca and Dr. Peter Buck opened their first sandwich shop in Bridgeport, Connecticut, they had a simple goal: give their neighbors and customers easy access to good, quality food at a great value. Today, Subway has thousands of locations, but we still uphold the same standards. We are committed to choice and quality, but we also take wellness and environmental responsibility very seriously. The new menu items we are introducing are perfect examples of how we plan to continuously improve to serve our customers,” says Elizabeth Stewart, director corporate social responsibility for Subway.

“Removing some of these ingredients will be relatively straightforward. Others will require significantly more effort by the Subway internal R&D team and our partners 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,” she adds.

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