Subway, the world’s largest sandwich chain, just launched its first-ever vegan sandwich to the Mexican market. Subway is adding the Teriyaki Veg Footlong to its menu at 780 locations across Mexico. This groundbreaking move caters to the increasing demand for plant-based options and provides a delicious and sustainable alternative for those seeking a meatless sandwich.
The Teriyaki Veg sandwich, inspired by one of Subway’s popular consumer favorites, features a plant-based protein specially developed for Subway. The vegan chicken—made from a blend of peas, rice, and broad beans—is bathed in the chain’s beloved Teriyaki sauce, adding a burst of flavor to the sandwich. As with all other Subway menu items, the Teriyaki Veg can be ordered with a choice of toppings and condiments.
Subway’s decision to introduce the Teriyaki Veg is a direct response to the evolving preferences of modern consumers, who are increasingly adopting balanced, sustainable, and flexible food choices.
“We are proud to present our new Teriyaki Veg, a unique option on the market that will surely surprise and please our guests, not only those who follow a plant-based diet but all those who want to try a different and delicious [option] in the quick-service restaurant industry,” Vivian Rodal, the marketing director of Subway Mexico, said in a statement.
Subway adds plant-based sandwiches to global menus
Mexico’s new sandwich was created in collaboration with EligeVeg, “ChooseVeg” in English, an organization managed by nonprofit Mercy For Animals.
“Teriyaki Veg arrives to unite people with different food preferences, promote culinary innovation with vegetable proteins and correctly respond to a market that is growing steadily in our country,” Mariana Issa, senior manager of EligeVeg, said in a statement. “For EligeVeg, it has been a great pleasure to collaborate with Subway by accompanying it on its foray into the plant-based movement.”
“We unite for innovation, inclusivity, and accessibility of plant-based and sustainable options,” Issa said.
The introduction of the Teriyaki Veg comes at a time when plant-based diets and Subway’s exploration of vegan options extends beyond Mexico, with Subway offering vegan options in various countries.
In the United Kingdom, Subway launched the Meatless Meatball Marinara, a fully vegan sandwich featuring plant-based protein and vegan cheese.
Additionally, Subway UK introduced the T.L.C. (Tastes Like Chicken) Sub, made with soy-based vegan chicken and topped with Violife vegan cheese slices.
During the holiday season in 2021, Subway UK took things to the next level with a limited-time offering called the P.I.B.(Plants in Blanket), a sandwich featuring a vegan sausage that comes wrapped in plant-based bacon and is drizzled with a maple syrup glaze and served with ketchup
Additionally, Subway tested a vegan chicken patty, this time made by Nestlé-owned foodservice arm Harvest Gourmet, in Singapore as part of a plant-based schnitzel offering in 2022.
However, the availability of vegan options at Subway varies across different regions. In its home country of the United States, Subway offers vegan bread, vegetables, soups, and chips. The Veggie Delite sandwich, featuring an assortment of vegetables, is also a popular choice among plant-based eaters.
Subway’s North American shops lean into meat
Subway’s global foray into vegan options capitalizes on a shift in consumers’ habits characterized by them increasingly seeking environmentally friendly and sustainable food options.
However, stateside, the lowboys at the sandwich shop tell a different story. In addition to vegetables, breads, and condiments, the chain does offer a Veggie Patty but the plant-based protein is not available at all locations.
In 2019, Subway tested the Beyond Meatball Marinara sandwich in North America. This item was made with Beyond Meat’s vegan meatballs and dairy cheese. Subway even recruited lifestyle guru Martha Stewart to promote the meatless option in Canada.
“Beyond Meat offers a better-for-you plant-based option to animal protein for people who are looking to change or expand their diets,” Stewart said in a statement at the time.
“I think it is important to start the conversation around plant-based diets,” Stewart said. “Reducing our meat consumption as we move toward the future is yet another important step in curing the environmental problems facing the world we live in.”
However, despite a similar sandwich landing on the UK menu, the Beyond Meatball Marinara has yet to become a permanent menu item stateside.
Instead, this month, Subway announced that it would slice its processed meats on-site at its 20,000 US locations and promoted the development with a giveaway of up to one million meat-and-cheese stuffed “Deli Hero” sandwiches.
But could vegan options still be on the way at Subway? In 2021, the chain was enthralled in a controversy over its tuna, which, a lawsuit alleged, did not contain any fish. Plant-based seafood brand Good Catch Foods quickly jumped to action to showcase its vegan tuna options in hopes that Subway would embrace a better fish-free offering.
The result? Back-and-forth jabs that ended with a revelatory cease and desist letter.
“Subway is not surprised that your company believes that consumers want environmentally friendly food options,” Subway’s letter stated, noting that the chain is “adding more plant-based options to its menus to meet growing consumer demand for meat-free alternatives.”