Subway now offers a lighter flatbread alternative to its traditional bread offerings. The result is being advertised as a “thinner, lighter and flatter” sub — but is it actually any better for you than the original? And what does it taste like? Lifehacker investigates…
As its name implies, the Subway flatbread takes a regular sub and substitutes the bread for a thinner Lavash-style alternative. Here’s the Subway pitch as it appears on its website:
“We think everything is getting smaller these days…thinner, lighter, flatter. So we figured it was about time that our favourite lunch caught on with the trend? Our new toasted flatbread is here… It’s the perfect option for whatever food mood you’re in! Try your favourite sub on it today or give it a whirl with our new oven roasted chicken, and you’ve got it made with just 8 grams of fat or less!”
Alert readers will have noticed that the above blurb fails to specify whether the flatbread is healthier than a regular sub — that’s because it isn’t. [related title=”More taste-test” tag=”taste-test” items=”4″]
A six-inch flatbread sans toppings contains 1120 kilojoules of energy and 44.5 grams of carbohydrates. A normal white bread sub, meanwhile, contains 804kj and 34g worth of carbs. The flatbread also packs in more than double the amount of fat (5.1g vs. 2.4g), a higher level of sodium (332mg vs. 296mg) and less dietary fibre (1.8g vs. 2.2g). In fact, the only area where it beats the white bread sub is sugar; the flatbread contains 1.8 grams while the white sub has 3.3g.
This is more than a bit cheeky on Subway’s part — while the company doesn’t flat-out state that the flatbread is a healthier option, the implication is clearly there (“thinner, lighter, flatter”). If you’re the type of Subway customer who asks the sandwich artist to hollow out the bread prior to adding the fillings, this new option clearly isn’t for you.
For everyone else though, all that really matters is how it tastes and handles. To test the Flatbread, we ordered the Club version and compared it to a white Subway Club made with the same ingredients. Here’s how they look side-by-side:
Again, we really think Subway should have made it clearer that the flatbread is a guiltier option, or at least tried to avoid the word ‘lighter’. Based on appearances alone, the sandwich on the left clearly looks healthier than the one on the right.
After seeing Subway’s flatbread adverts, we were worried the bread would be too flimsy to hold in the ingredients — the fillings are practically exploding out of the sandwich in all the posters. While this might make for a cool marketing image, it’s less than ideal for snacking on the go. (The last thing anybody wants is to have half their lunch spilled across their lap.)
Thankfully, the reality is a lot tidier looking and can be easily managed with one hand. Whether this is due to larger bread or fewer ingredients remains unclear — something to investigate in a future Takeaway Truth, perhaps? But for now, we’re judging the Flatbread Sub based purely on our taste buds.
If we had to sum up the Subway Flatbread Club Sandwich in a word, it would be “delicious”. Being a cold and rainy evening, I plumped for the toasted option which made for a delightfully crisp sandwich. The thin bread really brings the inner flavours to the fore, making for a much more satisfying meal overall.
If I had one complaint, it would probably be that the flatbread version left me feeling less full than the regular version, despite having a higher fat and energy count. I can only assume that the thinner appearance deceived my stomach.
All in all, the Subway Flatbread is definitely a winner and we hope it sticks around for a long time to come. Just be aware that it’s not as healthy as the adverts have subtly led you to believe.