Fast-food chain's buns deemed too sugary to be called bread.
In what may be the biggest news to hit the bread world since automatic slicers, the high court in Ireland ruled earlier this week that the sandwich giant’s fresh-baked bread has too much sugar to be called "bread."
In Ireland, the Value-Added Tax Act of 1972 says tax-exempt bread cannot contain fat, sugar, or bread improver (a mix of ingredients that activates gluten) that exceeds 2% of the weight of the flour. Subway’s fresh-baked concoctions contain about 10% sugar content—a six-inch Subway roll contains 3 to 5 grams of sugar, according to their own posted nutritional information. That's five times higher than the Irish definition of bread. Due to the sugar content of Subway’s buns, they fit under the category of "confectionary or fancy baked good."
The case came about after a Subway franchisee in Ireland filed a case appealing for a tax refund. In Ireland “staple food” is taxed at a 0% rate, the franchisee hoped to get a tax break on some of the menu items.
In a judgment handed down on September 29, the high court upheld the laws that define "bread as a staple food" and determined that Subway’s bread, at least in Ireland, is essentially equivalent to a cookie, brownie, or other baked sweets.
"The resulting product falls outside the definition of 'bread,'" the court said in a statement. Justice Donal O’Donnell explained that “bread” was defined the way it was to separate it from other starchy baked goods, like cookies, sweet rolls, cakes, and brownies.
Subway does not agree with the court’s decision and has no plans to change the recipe for its signature loaves.
"Subway's bread is, of course, bread. We have been baking fresh bread in our restaurants for more than three decades and our guests return each day for sandwiches made on bread that smells as good as it tastes," a Subway spokesperson said in a statement.
How do you feel about all this bready business? Do you think Subway’s bread is bread or more like cake? Sound off in the comments