Why Is Subway Adding Vitamin D and Calcium To Its Bread?

Categories: Chain Reactions
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Edwin Goei
Subway has announced that it will add Vitamin D and calcium to all its breads, except for their English muffins and flatbreads. According to Nation's Restaurant News, eating a Subway six-inch sub will now give you 30% of the recommended daily allowance of calcium and 20% of the recommended allowance of vitamin D. This is roughly about equal to a glass of milk.

Their "corporate dietician" said the move was made "because a lot of people have trouble getting them in their daily diet" which seems a reactionary, if opportunistic, step after the CDC announced that one quarter of the population could use more Vitamin D in a report filed in March.

Nevermind that Vitamin D is one of those substances that the body can produce just by  walking in sunshine, the way 80-90% of Americans get their intake. The timing of the announcement, made about a week after McDonald's introduced its healthier Happy Meals, seems to smell more of fast-food-chain one-upmanship than actual concern for public health.

Apart blog posts like this one, it remains to be seen whether Subway will even see an uptick in interest from the add-on. Besides, after a successful campaign with a guy named Jared, the perception of unhealthiness hasn't been Subway's problem: it was McDonald's.

If Subway wants to follow in another corporation's footsteps, they might do well to look at the way Domino's Pizza dealt with complaints about the quality and flavor of their pizza. The public act of contrition and the actions taken to address those complaints actually got people in. Subway needs to do the same about their bread--a bread that a lot of people (including this writer) thinks has an odd chemical aftertaste. Adding Vitamin D and calcium to the formula seems like it's going to make things worse than better.

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