Did Subway get rid of gluten-free bread?

Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more people adopting them for medical reasons or simply as a lifestyle choice. For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, eating gluten can cause serious health issues, so having gluten-free options at restaurants is extremely important.

Subway has offered gluten-free bread and wraps since 2015, making it one of the first major fast food chains to cater to gluten-free customers. However, there have recently been some concerning reports that Subway may have discontinued their gluten-free bread options.

What is gluten and why do people avoid it?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. For most people, consuming gluten is not a problem. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten triggers an autoimmune response that damages the small intestine. This can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, malnutrition, anemia, and fatigue.

The only treatment for celiac disease is maintaining a strict lifelong gluten-free diet. Even small amounts of cross-contamination can cause issues. People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity may also need to avoid gluten to manage symptoms, though the condition is not as severe as full-blown celiac disease.

In addition to those with medical conditions, some people simply feel better on a gluten-free diet or wish to avoid gluten for other reasons. Gluten-free diets have become trendy in recent years, though the evidence on benefits for those without celiac disease is still unclear.

When did Subway introduce gluten-free options?

In January 2015, Subway announced that it would debut gluten-free bread and wraps systemwide. This made them one of the first major fast food restaurants to offer gluten-free buns.

Subway said they spent over two years researching and developing the recipe to create bread and wraps that would meet gluten-free standards while still matching the taste and texture of their original sandwich bread. At launch, the gluten-free options contained less than 10 parts per million of gluten.

The new gluten-free products were part of Subway’s “Eat Fresh Refresh” campaign, which aimed to provide more dietary options for guests. Subway stated that they were committed to making sure guests with gluten sensitivities could enjoy Subway sandwiches.

What gluten-free options did Subway offer?

When first launched, Subway offered the following gluten-free products:

  • Gluten-Free Bread – This standard sized loaf of bread could be used to make any Subway sandwich. It matched the size and appearance of regular Subway bread.
  • Gluten-Free Wraps – Available in flavor options like tomato basil, spinach, and garden vegetable, these wraps provided an alternative to bread for sandwich-making.
  • Chips – Subway carried several varieties of gluten-free potato chips and multigrain chips.
  • Cookies – Gluten-free cookies were available in certain participating locations.

The availability of gluten-free bread allowed those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to enjoy nearly any regular Subway sandwich order in a gluten-free version. Toppings like vegetables, cheese, and meats at Subway were naturally gluten-free already.

Did Subway discontinue gluten-free bread?

There have been numerous reports from disappointed customers over the last several months stating that their local Subway restaurant stopped carrying gluten-free bread and wraps. Complaints on social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit have accused Subway of discontinuing their gluten-free products.

In July 2022, an investigative report by the Boston Globe found that most Subway locations in the greater Boston area were no longer offering gluten-free bread. Reporters surveyed 49 Subway locations and found only 4 where gluten-free bread was still available. Employees cited supply chain issues and low customer demand.

When reached for comment, Subway did not outright deny that gluten-free bread was being phased out. A company spokesperson stated: “We’re experiencing unprecedented global supply chain challenges which are affecting the availability of some products.”

Based on these reports, it seems highly likely that Subway has at least dramatically scaled back availability of gluten-free bread, if not removed it from menus altogether. The reason comes down to business decisions rather than concern over the product’s safety or quality.

How are customers reacting?

Many loyal Subway customers with celiac disease or gluten intolerance are expressing anger and frustration over the apparent discontinuation of gluten-free bread.

Social media is filled with comments from disappointed patrons, for example:

  • “This is awful. Subway gluten free bread made me feel so normal being able to eat fast food.” – Twitter user @GFMomof3
  • “No more gluten free bread at my Subway. Time to take my business elsewhere after so many years” – Reddit user GlutenFree4Life
  • “So disappointed that Subway got rid of their gluten free bread. It was one of the few quick places I could take my son with celiac.” – Facebook user Carol D.

Customers also accuse Subway of failing to communicate properly about the change. Many say they were given no warning that Subway nixed gluten-free bread, making the next sandwich order extremely disappointing.

All in all, Subway gluten-free patrons feel let down by the loss of one of the few gluten-free fast food options available to them.

Is gluten-free still available in some locations?

While gluten-free bread seems to have disappeared from many Subway locations, it does still appear available in select restaurants.

When asked about gluten-free bread, some Subway employees state the availability varies by location. Though many franchises stopped carrying it due to supply issues and low sales, others still offer it based on customer demand in that area.

One challenge is that the Subway website does not provide any indication of which locations still carry gluten-free bread and wraps. The menus are standardized across all stores, even those that discontinued certain products.

Subway customers looking for gluten-free options must call around and check with their local Subway shops individually. There is no simple way to find participating locations, since availability is sporadic.

What are options at Subway without gluten-free bread?

While gluten-free fans will certainly miss having sandwich bread, there are still ways to modify Subway orders to be gluten-free:

  • Salads – All Subway salads are gluten-free, just avoid croutons.
  • Protein bowls – These bowls feature lettuce, meat, cheese, and veggies without bread.
  • Wraps – Though gluten-free wraps are hard to find now, corn or flour tortillas may be safe for some.
  • Veggie patty – The veggie patty contains gluten, but can be enjoyed atop a salad.
  • Sandwich as a salad – Order a sandwich with all gluten-free toppings and have it chopped up into a salad.

While not entirely the same, these allow those avoiding gluten to still enjoy some of their favorite Subway sandwich fixings atop leafy greens and veggies.

What other fast food has gluten-free buns?

For fans of gluten-free fast food, here are some other major chains offering gluten-free buns and options:

Burger King

Burger King launched gluten-free buns in 2014 and still offers them today. All their beef burgers and sandwiches can be customized with a gluten-free bun upon request. It contains less than 20 ppm of gluten.


Chick-fil-A’s gluten-free bun debuted in 2016 and is available in restaurants nationwide. Their bun has 10 grams of whole grains and swapped tapioca and brown rice flour for enriched wheat flour.

Blaze Pizza

Customers can build a gluten-free pizza or salad using a gluten-free crust or original dough at Blaze Pizza. Blaze Pizza offers a dedicated gluten-free menu and food prep area.


Qdoba offers gluten-free tortillas and taco shells so guests can make burritos, tacos, and nachos suited to a gluten-free diet. Most toppings are gluten-free too.

Noodles & Company

All Noodles & Company restaurants offer gluten-free pasta and noodles fresh-made without gluten. There are specific gluten-free dishes or build-your-own options.

Fast Food Chain Gluten-Free Options
Burger King Gluten-free buns
Chick-fil-A Gluten-free buns
Blaze Pizza Gluten-free crust
Qdoba Gluten-free tortillas and taco shells
Noodles & Company Gluten-free pasta

Is Subway planning to bring back gluten-free bread?

There are currently no signs that Subway plans to bring back their gluten-free bread and wraps nationwide. With supply chain issues causing shortages for many products, Subway is likely focused on maintaining core menu items.

Some customers hold out hope that Subway will reintroduce gluten-free bread once disruptions to the supply chain smooth out. However, the company has not made any specific announcements or commitments to that effect.

Unless demand rises drastically, a nationwide return of gluten-free bread seems unlikely in the short term. Individual franchises may still choose to offer it based on local demand.

How to order “gluten-free” smart at Subway

While gluten-free bread may be absent from many Subways for the foreseeable future, there are still steps customers can take to enjoy a gluten-free sandwich:

1. Ask about gluten-free options before ordering

Don’t assume that the restaurant has gluten-free bread or wraps in stock. Ask at the start whether they currently have gluten-free bread available. That saves the disappointment of ordering a sandwich to discover the bread option is gone.

2. Specify “gluten-free” with every order

Make it clear to Subway employees with each step of your order that you need the sandwich prepared gluten-free. For example: “I’ll take a 6-inch turkey sub on gluten-free bread, with gluten-free cheese and gluten-free mustard.”

3. Request food prep area to be cleaned

Ask that employees change gloves, wash hands, and wipe down the prep area before making your gluten-free order to prevent cross-contact with gluten.

4. Micromanage ingredient selection

Gluten hides in many condiments, seasonings, and sauces at Subway. Guide staff in choosing gluten-free-safe ingredients for your order.

5. Check labels of sauces and dressings

Small amounts of malt, wheat, or barley could be added to condiment or sauce ingredients. Read labels carefully to verify gluten status.

6. Consider lower-risk meats

While Subway meats are gluten-free, some like roast beef and cold cut combo pose cross-contact risks. Opt for lower-risk options like turkey, ham, or chicken strips.

7. Use disposable cutlery and plates

Request that your gluten-free order be packed in a sealed box or bag with disposable utensils to avoid cross-contact at pickup and seating areas.

With extra care taken to verify ingredients and minimize contact with any gluten, Subway can still be a reasonably safe option to get a fresh sandwich even when gluten-free bread is not on the menu.

The bottom line

Based on numerous customer reports over the past several months, it appears Subway has discontinued or cut back gluten-free bread in many U.S. restaurants. Supply chain shortages and low demand seem to have prompted the removal.

Customers who relied on Subway for gluten-free meals are extremely disappointed and frustrated by the situation. It remains unclear if Subway will ever bring back the popular gluten-free bread and wraps.

For now, carefully customizing orders using naturally gluten-free sandwich fillings and taking extra precautions provides one way for gluten-sensitive patrons to still enjoy Subway. But those with celiac disease should use caution and continue to verify gluten-free status with each restaurant.

Hope remains that Subway will resolve supply challenges soon and once again offer safe gluten-free bread nationwide. But the company has not made any specific commitments in that regard. Those eager for gluten-free fast food options will be stuck playing the waiting game.

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