Subway Is Quietly Rolling Out Freshly Sliced Meat Across The US

Though we're hardly into 2023, Subway has already enjoyed an unexpectedly good year. Last summer, the fast food chain introduced its official lineup of 12 signature sandwiches to help guide foodies along their sandwich customization journeys, reports Food Network. A few months before that, it launched its "Eat Fresh Refresh" initiative across Canada, switching to exclusively Canadian-sourced ingredients in its stores in the Great North. Now, per its latest innovation, it looks like Subway is delivering on its "Eat Fresh" slogan in a big way.

Subway plans to install automatic slicing machines in all of its roughly 22,000 restaurants across the U.S.  Whether you live in downtown Manhattan or rural Nebraska, freshly sliced deli meat is on its way to your local Subway. The plans, initially announced in August of 2022, said that the following summer, all Subway stores would carry freshly sliced meat (via Restaurant Business). And some locations already have it, as they're rolling it out regionally. 

Rather than slicing meat to order, per Today, Subway says it plans to slice its meat in batches twice daily: once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Here's why it will make a difference.

A fresh, thrifty, timely move for the chain

Not only is in-store slicing more appealing to customers, but it's a thrifty move for the company as well. Subway CEO John Chidsey told Today that slicing meat fresh lowers food costs by axing the middleman. It's a move toward elevated quality and freshness, but it also represents a timely decision in light of recent food inflation, which has caused the price of meat to skyrocket. 

Last spring, the U.S. Labor Department reported that the Consumer Price Index saw the highest year-over-year jump in 40 years (via FOX Business). Meat prices alone were up 13.8% from 2021, and at the time, Queens deli owner Frank Ottomanelli told the outlet that he was forced to raise his meat prices by 5-10% to offset the hit of inflation. Subway's latest move could be coming at the perfect time for the chain.

Trevor Haynes, president of Subway North America, calls the mass installation of slicers "the natural next step of the evolution of the U.S. business and operations" (via Restaurant Business). Indeed, the fast food industry has gotten a significant facelift recently that is looking more toward a new generation of core customers. Last month, Chipotle announced the release of its new Lifestyle Bowls, created with health-conscious Millennial and Gen Z customers in mind, reports Forbes. In December, McDonald's announced they are going solar. Foodies will have to wait and see what's next for Subway for the industry at large.