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Subway Expands Gluten Free Test Market

August 21, 2011 by  
Filed under News

Subway has been testing gluten free, deli style rolls and brownies in about 700 locations in the Dallas and Tyler, Texas areas since January. Those items are now being offered in about 100 Portland, Oregon locations, with company plans to get the entire 500-plus-unit market in trial within the next month, according to QSR.com.

Executives at the chain claim to understand the tricky issues of cross contamination and insist they are not adding gluten free options to boost their bottom line.

“(Gluten intolerance) doesn’t impact a large mass of people. We’re not judging these tests on sales, but instead on what we’re able to do for a handful of our customers and their feedback,” Kevin Kane, manager of public relations for Subway said. “It’s not a money making thing; it’s just the right thing to do.” 

According to Alicia Kelso, to help avoid cross contamination: “once a gluten-free roll or brownie is ordered, the line staff is required to wipe down the entire counter and get rid of any crumbs in the vicinity. They’re then to wash their hands and change their gloves. The gluten-free rolls and brownies are pre-packaged on fresh deli paper, and a single-use, pre-packaged knife is used for cutting.”

“The gluten-free sandwich is taken from order to point-of-sale by the same person, as opposed to being passed down the line in the traditional Subway format. Customers are able to watch the creation from start to finish.”

“If they don’t like what they see, they can start it over. It’s important that our customers feel comfortable and safe,” Christiano said. “Nobody is going to die from this, but people get very sick if it’s not done right. We want to provide them with a place to eat where they don’t have to worry about that.”

The company has not revealed the supplier of the buns and brownies, but they are rumored to be provided by Rich’s Foodservice out of New York (Their gluten-free products are certified by the GFCO as gluten, dairy, lactose and casein free.)

Locate a gluten free participating Subway location in the Portland area HERE.

Have you tried one of the Subway gluten free products? What did you think? Leave a comment below.


38 Responses to “Subway Expands Gluten Free Test Market”
  1. Helen says:

    I think Fayetteville, Springdale, Bentonville, or Rogers, Arkansas would be a good place to test a gluten-free menu.

  2. Helen says:

    I have ordered just the fillings and been satisfied with that option.

  3. Terry says:

    I find it interesting that they say Gluten Intolerence does not effect a large mass of people. Studies show that there is a rise in Gluten Intolerence and Alergies, as well as Celiac Disease. There also have been recent studies linking diagnoses of IBS in individuals ages 45-70 to Gluten Intolerence — basically stating that they were misdiagnosed with IBS and that the symptoms were due to Gluten Intolerence. I am have no issues with Gluten but my wife does and if she can find this information in a couple clicks of the mouse, then how come a major food chain cant?

  4. S. Smith says:

    Good for them, I think that’s a great option for the people who cant or have glutin free ideas about food to have one more option about where they too can dine. Very nice idea. I might try one just to try one.

  5. S. Smith says:

    Who cares Terry if .01% and 20% or whatever the % is they are making a change to help people. Good gref with fact finder. can’t u just be happy with the fact u and ur wife will be able to share a sandwich?

  6. marcia says:

    I’m so excited, hope your in wa soon.

  7. Elaine says:

    Finally! Wheat/gluten is not my friend and I pay every time I eat it! I hope it tastes good. Now, if Subway would just carry more meats without nitrates and preservatives. =)

  8. Kayt Boyles says:

    Hurray and bring that over to the UK please….and make sure the fillings are g-f friendly too!!!!!

  9. Gwen says:

    I live in Tyler and although I am not gluten intolerant my daughter is. I have been impressed with the precautions Subway takes with the production of the subs and the taste is very good. I’ve even picked up a GF sub and taken it five hours away for my daughter to have. It’s her first stop as she comes to town now.

  10. Julie says:

    This is geat. The more options out there the better. When is it coming to Canada?

  11. Laura says:

    Even with the precautions they have in place, if they are pulling meat, cheese and vegies from the same containers that they are using for non gluten free sandwiches, is no one concerned about cross contamination? There is no way you can tell me that no crumbs that fall into the sandwich toppings.

  12. Barbara says:

    I agree with Terry, presenting information that is inaccurate/misleading downplays the severity of the problem. Speaking as someone who was misdiagnosed for many years I have experienced the ill effects of wheat ingestion, through cross contamination, after eating Subway “just the fillings” sandwiches. As they are not offering the Gluten Free items in my area I will not be considering trying them anytime soon

  13. Suzanne says:

    “…not going to die” Sorry, but they are misinformed. Many sufferers of Celiac disease have extreme reactions to even the smallest contamination of Gluten. For example blood pressure that shoots up to over 250 on the systolic, fainting, convulsions, and more. I’m so tired of folks thinking it is just a little tummy ache and slightly watery bowls. This is a serious disease.

  14. Zoey says:

    I hope they realize that going gluten free requires more than providing customers with a gluten free bun. It’s also making sure that there is no MSG in the deli meats and no wheat in the dressing / sauces. As a gluten-intolerant customer, I am really looking forward to this in Canada!

  15. Kristen says:

    So happy to hear this. Hope that they bring it to the Metro Detroit area soon!

  16. Ellyn says:

    I have eaten at several different Dallas area Subways and can tell you their employees are well trained and follow the procedures to the letter. I have enjoyed delicious GF sandwiches and brownies and never gotten sick. They do also provide a list of which meats (most) and dressings are GF. I hope they eventually offer this option in all their stores.

  17. Brandy says:

    My dad’s a truck driver and goes through Texas a lot. He’s brought me the brownies before (which are also soy free!) and I swear, they’re the best gluten free brownies I’ve ever had. I hope the rolls and brownies make it to Oklahoma soon because I’ve been dying for some Subway. It’s nice to see so many companies making the effort to cater to us.

  18. Amanda says:

    I want to try one so bad. It’s been years since I’ve had a sandwich! They need to come to southern California.

  19. Suzanne says:

    hey i am so glad to hear that subway is doing this. Please bring it to the southeast/ a lot of us are gf. i hope that someone starts a trend down here. I have been craving a sub since i went gf. uughh!

  20. Carrie Gort says:

    Unfortunately, the statement that “nobody is going to die from this” isn’t accurate. While I realize it is rare, I am allergic to wheat, rye & barley (testing confirmed by the Mayo Clinic allergy specialist). Originally I merely had GI symptoms, but in 2005 I accidently ate gluten (an entire bar) without realizing it and went into anaphylactic shock. It was very close, but thanks to amazing EMTs and the ER staff at Hennepin County Medical Center, I survived. I’ve had 3 ER trips since then, but thanks to an epipen the reaction has never gotten as far. I’m glad to see they are taking the cross contamination seriously – and best of all that we can see the prep process.

  21. kate t says:

    How about New England?!

  22. Carmela says:

    My family lives in Texas.. I was so happy to see DFW airport offer gluten free sandwhiches. Im very sensitive and was nervous at first, but they did a great job.It was super deliscious sandwhich. I called every Subway in Charleston when I got back from Texas..You have no idea how many people thought I was prank calling them! Subway its legit come on just release gluten free already!

  23. Margaret says:

    YAYY!!! Bring the gluten free to Canada!! I”m in Toronto and we are ready for you!!

  24. Judy Fitchie says:

    I’m so glad you are doing this!!!! Can’t wait till you come to Missouri!

  25. anne says:

    I looked up Riches Food Service… all their bread is made with corn starch. So sad, so much gluten free food has corn in it which I can’t have. I just want a freakin sandwich.

  26. Joan says:

    The article indicates that the same person takes your gluten free sandwich down the line. While they have wiped down the counter, etc what about the cross contamination with the items they are placing on the gluten free sandwich? Think about the crumbs that have been accidentally bumped into the lettuce, meats, other items. While I greatly appreciate their attempts – the cross contamination is a huge concern especially in a deli!!

  27. Tammy says:

    I love subway but cannot eat there anymore!:(. Subway might be surprised how many people would eat there if they would offer this permanently in all their stores. They really have no idea how many people do not eat out because of this disease. If more restaurants would offer gluten free products, I believe that the restaurant industry would see an increase in their sales. I hope they come to Indiana soon.

  28. Lynda says:

    Test in San Diego!

  29. Tina says:

    Tried them several times. The first one was delicious, second one had very hard bread. They told me it come frozen and they have to toast them twice. The ends and side of the bread were rock hard. Thank you for thinking of us Gluten Free folks, just remember freshness and softer bread please… with Subway and “eat fresh” like the commercials.

  30. Helen Flynn says:

    So need this in the UK, but only if the bread is soft, I’m sick of eating bread that resembles cardboard.

  31. Connie Gault says:

    a friend posted a link on her GF websidte. MY concern is the cros contamination of the condiments that go on the sandwich as they will not be fresh everytime, what I mean is they have been already touched with their previous gloves. It is great they are trying but new gloves are great but for a severe gluten free person can’t have ANY possible contimination or end up in the hospital. A family member works their and says yes they wear gloves so no germs are passed from the vegatables and things but those same gloves touch everything all at one passing. I hope I have explained myself ok. If you are not used to cooking gluten free it can be confusing.

  32. Rose says:

    Gluten Free should be an option at every Subway Nationwide!

  33. Elaine Dobrutsky says:

    Yea, Subway! Hurry up and make Gluten-Free available at all your stores.
    One in 133 is no small number. That is how many people have Celiac Disease and there are so many who are undiagnosed. How about South Florida? Thanks!

  34. jaclyn says:

    That really put a happy tear in my eye. It makes me oh so happy that you guys are taking such steps to make it safe from gluten amd that we allergic gluten folks can now eat your yummy sandwiches again. I lived in seattle and worked a block away from subway in bell town. And they were always good to me about switchen gloves and using new knife to make my salads. Which were super good just so nice to know that know I can go out to lunch with friends and actually enjoy a subway sandwich with them instead of wishing I could just have a bite of theirs. Thank you thank you much love jaclyn

  35. Pat Bulloch says:

    I have been diagnose with Dermatis Herpetaformis( it’s in the celiac family, primarily effects the skin) since 1988. So you can imagine how hard it was to find food for me during that time…..I gave up everything! It’s was nice to see Subway care enough about their customers to go out of there way to make a sandwich for us. I waiting on it to hit Florida~ There is enough business here to warrant this..by that, I mean Gluten Intolerance customers!

  36. chris says:

    been waiting for subway to go gluten free in Colorado, i have to eat gluten free and subway was one of my favorite places to eat before I got celiac disease. Have lots of Celiac friends that also want gluten free subway in Colorado

  37. Chris sloan says:

    I use to live in Arlington tx I bot a lot of gf sandwiches when I lived there had to move back to Colorado they do not carry gf buns I wish they had gf at subway here in Colorado springs I would go all the time to buy a sandwich there and my kids too they have celiac too so please bring gf buns too subway in Colorado springs Tyvm


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