It’s been a long, rough couple of months for Subway’s leadership. First news of sagging sales and revenue. Then the company’s beloved spokesperson, Jared Fogel, was arrested and has since plead guilty to child pornography and sex crimes charges. And earlier this week, the company settled a lawsuit over the length of its footlong subs after a group of consumers sued the sandwich company for delivering less than 12 inches.
With all of the recent bad publicity, it seems the company was looking for a quick and easy PR move to regain customers and positive press (Click HERE for a look inside the rise and fall of Subway) when it announced Wednesday that it would begin serving products only from animals never treated with antibiotics. The publicity stunt is a slap in the face to the hardworking farmers and ranchers who produce safe, affordable and antibiotic-free products everyday and the reason I will now be saying no to Subway.
To learn more about how and why we use antibiotics on our farm, click HERE.
Here in lies the irony of the international sandwich chain’s decision. Subway is the largest fast-food chain in the U.S. It has claimed that rank through expansion into markets that are off limits or unserved by other drive thru giants. I’m talking about small town, rural America. If you drive west of I-135 in Kansas, you’ll find dozens of Subway restaurants in towns with populations of less than 1,000 people. Most are the only chain restaurant in town and many are the only dine-out option for miles. Additionally, all Subway restaurants are franchises, meaning local, small business owners will bear the brunt of higher food costs and decreased patronage from people who don’t believe in supporting a business that does not support agriculture. What’s the old adage, ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’?
When Subway announced it would be serving products from animals never treated with antibiotics, a company spokesperson claimed it was listening to consumers when it made the decision. But a good number of its consumers come from farming communities and know all meat is antibiotic-free. So I’m not sure which consumers they may be referring to? Maybe the ones ones who work for large, anti-agriculture lobbyist organizations?
The lobbyist groups and extreme food bloggers, like Food Babe, have taken credit for the announcement. These groups have never owned livestock, never seen a calf suffer from pneumonia and never considered the long-ranging implications of changing livestock practices. They have however, made a name and a small fortune for themselves selling fear and misinformation to consumers across this great country.
But Subway is the true guilty party in all of this. It’s obvious company leaders never bothered to learn the other side of the story, never spoke to farmers or representatives of the agriculture industry and never considered the rising cost burden that will fall on their store owners and, subsequently, passed onto its customers.
I always knew I liked Jimmy John’s and now I have one more reason to by-pass my local Subway and head straight for its competition.