Subway Drive-Thru at Night

Subway’s Bread Isn’t Really Bread?

Remember when Jared the Subway guy was riding high on the story that he lost 200 pounds eating only Subway sandwiches? Though he’s long gone, the chain kept on cultivating a healthy image. But now the Irish Supreme Court tells us that the bread in those subs is not even bread. Nope. It’s a confection. Because Subway adds so much sugar to its bread.

Born from a Tax Problem

We Bake Our Own BreadYou might wonder how the Supreme Court of Ireland wound up ruling on whether bread is bread. It’s a simple tax problem really. The Irish franchisee for Subway – Bookfinders Ltd – didn’t want to pay a value-added tax on the bread for its sandwiches. Bookfinders argued that bread is a staple food that should be exempt.

Perhaps you’ve seen Subway shops boasting that they bake their own bread. It fits nicely with their “Eat Fresh!” tagline. Supports a healthy brand image.

But the trouble is that when the court looked at the bread as a staple food, they found it does not fit the legal definition. Instead, all that sugar added to the bread makes it a confection. Sort of like candy, though it’s not nearly so colorful. A six-inch sub roll contains five grams of sugar.

Subway is not alone in this. A Big Mac bun from McDonald’s has almost six grams.

Bread Confusion

Bread has become a bit confusing for health-conscious consumers. On one hand, our primal selves respond well to a bit more sugar in bread. But the apostles of healthy eating tell us we should run from the carbs and gluten in bread. And of course, sugar is supposed to be toxic.

A recent study in Appetite tells us that one out of four consumers could not identify any bread that they would consider healthy. Whole grains are supposed to be healthy, but the labeling for them is utterly confusing. Still, real bread is definitely a staple for life. Ask any Frenchman.

We would do well to know the difference between bread and sweet cakes. And be wary of food chains that would sell us sandwiches that are really confections.

Click here and here for more about Subway bread that isn’t really bread.

Subway Drive-Thru at Night, photograph © Mr. Blue MauMau / flickr

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October 2, 2020

2 Responses to “Subway’s Bread Isn’t Really Bread?”

  1. October 03, 2020 at 3:25 pm, Allen Browne said:

    That is very confusing.


    • October 03, 2020 at 4:08 pm, Ted said:

      What? You find tax policy confusing?