The Subway restaurant chain is currently testing two gluten-free menu items in the Dallas and Tyler, Texas markets. The trial options roll out Jan. 10.
According to celiac.com, the gluten-free rolls and brownies will come prepackaged and individually wrapped. Sandwich Artists in those two markets will be trained on how to cut the roll with a pre-wrapped knife for one use only.
Also, to further avoid cross-contamination, that same Sandwich Artist will prepare the order from beginning to end, ensuring a 100-percent gluten-free meal.
Subway has long offered items and information for allergen-sensitive customers, and includes a comprehensive chart on its website outlining ideal options for those who stick to a celiac diet.
Celiac disease and gluten intolerance requires a strict gluten-free diet to repair digestive problems caused when wheat, barley, oats or rye is ingested. The gluten protein in these products destroy villi in the intestines, which ultimately breaks down the ability to properly digest. It can lead to malnourishment and osteoporosis, among other health issues.
Many quick-service chains are embracing gluten-free menu options in light of a growing awareness of this disease. In early 2010, for example, Burger King Corp. released a “Gluten-Sensitive List” which features food on the chain’s menu that doesn’t contain wheat, barley, oats or rye.
The increased rollout of gluten-free items not only appeals to a broader consumer base, it may also be a necessity, as lawsuits have been filed against chains for not disclosing gluten’s presence in products.
Ultimately, having a gluten-free component decreases the risk of making some customers sick, which is why it continues to be listed as a restaurant trend to watch for in 2011, according to Technomic research.