Footlong sandwich purveyor Subway, which has long presented itself as a healthier alternative to other fast foods, is taking another step to bolster that image. The chain announced Tuesday it plans to voluntarily add calorie counts to menus at all United States locations, starting Monday, April 11.
"For years it has been a priority for Subway sandwich shops to share full nutrition information with our guests so they can make more informed meal choices," Subway dietitian Dietitian Lanette Kovachi said in a prepared statement. "We want consumers to know the calorie value of our sandwiches and salads but we also want them to know that many of our menu items contain quality calories and are packed with beneficial nutrients from whole grains, lean meats, and the wide range of vegetables we serve."
Subway is touting the fact that its updated menus are coming despite the Food & Drug Administration's recently delayed calorie count mandate. In November 2014, the FDA announced it would require restaurants, coffee shops, convenience stores, and more to post nutritional information on their menus. But last July, the government agency decided to push back the regulation until December 1, 2016. The decision was a result of pressure from various entities in America's food industry.
"Food companies must be hoping that if they can delay menu labeling long enough, it will just go away," Marion Nestle, a nutrition, food studies, and public health professor at New York University told the New York Times following the announced delay. In February, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill that would ease the planned regulations.
Offering more transparent menus is only Subway's latest overture to thoughtful diners. Last October, the chain announced plans to remove antibiotics from its meat supply. In December, Subway revealed it would transition to sourcing 100 percent cage-free eggs by the year 2025.