Subway is overhauling tons of ingredients with a new menu but is keeping its controversial tuna

Subway worker making tuna sandwich
Subway tuna. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Subway is overhauling the menu with new ingredients and sandwiches.
  • The chain is keeping the tuna after a lawsuit alleged it did not contain real tuna.
  • Subway maintains that it serves “100% wild-caught, cooked tuna.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Subway is revamping its menu with new ingredients and sandwiches this month.

The sandwich chain is calling the menu changes an “Eat Fresh Refresh,” playing off Subway’s slogan. More than 20 menu changes will come to all US restaurants on July 13 with “improvements to almost every core menu item,” according to a release.

Subway didn’t list every planned menu change but noted that they will include sauces, bread, and proteins. Two new bread options, Artisan Italian and Hearty Multigrain, have been in development for over two years. The chain is also adding deli-style sliced ham and turkey, smashed avocado, fresh mozzarella, and a parmesan vinaigrette. In total there will be 11 new and improved ingredients, six new sandwiches, and four improved sandwiches, along with a new digital ordering experience.

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Executives say the chain is focused on growing sales. Subway was one of many restaurants to feel the effects of the pandemic, and it closed more locations than any other large US chain in 2020, ending the period with 1,557 fewer stores, a 6.6% loss.

“People were really crying out for food innovation. There hadn’t really been a whole lot of food innovation, and where there had, it had kind of been chasing the shiny object, like Popeyes’ chicken sandwich is going to save the brand,” CEO John Chidsey said.

Despite the major menu overhaul, Subway makes of point of saying it is not making any changes to its tuna. The chain’s tuna has been the subject of controversy for months now after a January lawsuit alleged that Subway mislabeled tuna, and it did not contain actual tuna fish. Then, The New York Times published a report after testing tuna from three different Subway locations and found that “no amplifiable tuna DNA was present in the sample.”

Subway fired back with a statement calling the method used by the NYT unreliable and says it serves “100% wild-caught, cooked tuna” mixed with mayonnaise. Subway also says tuna is one of its most popular sandwich fillings.

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