Is Subway Food Processed? (Chicken, Steak, Meatballs, Turkey, Tuna, Cheese, + More)

As a fast-food chain, some might not consider Subway the top option when it comes to your lunch. However, Subway can be much more nutritious than other fast-food options.

With sandwiches and salad options, Subway may seem like the better choice compared to burgers and fries. So, I wanted to know whether Subway uses processed food. Here’s everything that I’ve found out about processed food at Subway!

Is Subway Food Processed?

Though Subway’s tagline is ‘Eat fresh,’ it would appear that many of Subway’s ingredients are indeed considered processed foods. Many of the ingredients in Subway meals and its bread arrive pre-packaged at restaurants and contain preservatives and other additives to help it stay fresh, making it all processed food.

Now you know that Subway food is processed, check out the rest of my research and find out which ingredients are processed at Subway!

Is Subway Chicken Processed?

After much controversy over the actual amount of chicken in its chicken products, Subway released a statement that said its chicken was made wholly from chicken and free from artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors.

While this appears true, the chicken’s ingredient list shows that additives considered ‘natural’ are still used in Subway chicken products.

Indeed, the oven-roasted chicken breast contains carrageenan. That said, carrageenan is a natural food additive used to thicken, emulsify, and preserve foods.

Additionally, Subway chicken doesn’t contain artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors, but it’s considered a processed food as it still includes additives and is pre-packaged.

Is Subway Steak Processed?

The integrity of Subway’s steak has recently been questioned in a viral TikTok where a Subway employee at an unknown location showed the meat arriving packaged before being made to look like the well-known Subway steak.

With that, the ingredient list for Subway steak lists several additives, like sodium phosphate, meaning that Subway steak is processed food.

Are Subway Meatballs Processed?

Yes, Subway meatballs are considered processed food due to the added ingredients.

For example, the ingredients list shows added soy protein concentrate and other additives, suggesting that the meatballs are processed.

Is Subway Turkey Processed?

Though considered one of the better meats on the Subway menu, the turkey is still processed meat.

As a pre-cut, pre-cooked, and pre-packaged meat, the turkey offerings at Subway can be considered processed because of the way Subway prepares it.

Is Subway Tuna Processed?

Recently, there has been controversy over whether the tuna that Subway serves is actually what it says it is, with a test unable to identify any tuna DNA in the product.

With that, another viral TikTok video shows the making of the tuna mayonnaise sandwich filling, showing that the tuna arrives pre-packaged and prepared at Subway franchises, suggesting it has been processed.

Many commenters on the video have pointed out that the pre-packaged tuna bears a resemblance to canned tuna, which is a highly processed food.

Is Subway Cheese Processed?

Is Subway Cheese Processed?

One of the options at Subway is called ‘Processed Cheese,’ so you can assume that Subway’s cheese products are processed. Additionally, cheese itself is a processed food item.

What Should You Not Order at Subway?

It is commonly agreed that the Subway sandwiches you shouldn’t eat are the ones that have a lot of dressings, including:

  • Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt
  • Classic Tuna

In addition, if you’re avoiding sodium, you should avoid the Chicken Teriyaki and Chipotle Chicken Subs.

Where Does Subway Get Its Meat?

Chicken at Subway is supplied by Perdue, West Liberty Foods, Keystone, and Ed Miniat.

With that, all facilities and suppliers are HACCP-approved, BFC- or GFSI-certified, and USDA-inspected daily. Moreover, Subway regularly audits its suppliers.

Also, Subway claims that all of its meats are sourced sustainably, and its fish are harvested ethically.

In addition, Subway is working on local sourcing for its franchises to try and reduce its carbon footprint.

To learn more about Subway food, you can also read our posts on Subway catering, whether Subway has gluten-free bread, and if Subway has vegan options.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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