Can You Really 'Eat Fresh' At Subway?

Subway might have one of the best-known fast food slogans of all time. If you've ever seen any of its commercials, you've heard the famous catchphrase, "Subway: eat fresh." But is it true that you can actually eat fresh at the sub shop?

As revealed to Delishably by one former Subway employee, the answer is seemingly no. Though some vegetables are sliced by employees on location, Subway doesn't make any of its food in-house. Other items, like meats, cheeses, and some of the other vegetable choices, are packaged before arriving at each restaurant. Breads, on the other hand, arrive at each location in dough form and are baked on-site.

Someone posed the same freshness question on Quora, and a user claiming to be a Subway employee explained further. "The only fresh things are our vegetables. Those are usually prepared in house," they wrote. They could, however, be referring to the whole vegetables that are sliced by sub-makers. At first glance, it seems the chain's slogan isn't entirely accurate; in the summer of 2023, though, Subway began changing the way it handles its meats.

Meat slicers make Subway's sandwiches fresher

In July 2023, Subway implemented a major change by adding meat slicers to its stores, replacing its old method of sending each location pre-cut meat from factories. Around 80% of stores — namely those that had enough room to fit the large pieces of equipment — were affected by this change, though some smaller locations received meat slicers on carts. Not all meats were included in this update, however; although turkey, roast beef, ham, and several others are now hand-sliced, steak and rotisserie chicken still follow the old model for the time being. Instead of slicing each piece of meat to order, sub-makers are slicing in bulk throughout the day.

You might be wondering if Subway slicing its meat in-house really contributes to the sandwiches' freshness; according to Uncle Paulie's Deli owner Paulie James, this does, in fact, make a significant difference (via Eating Well). Not only is the meat fresher, but it likely contains fewer preservatives because it doesn't have to be shipped.