Subway launches 100% tuna campaign amid ‘fake fish’ allegations

Subway fighting against claims with new 100% Tuna campaign

Company is facing claims that its tuna sandwiches and wraps don't actually contain tuna



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9 February 2021

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Subway has launched a new ad campaign to fight back against a ‘fake fish’ claim recently made in a US lawsuit.

The popular sandwich chain is facing claims that its tuna sandwiches and wraps don’t actually contain tuna. The complaint names two plaintiffs who allege that they “were tricked into buying food items that wholly lacked the ingredients they reasonably thought they were purchasing.”

In response, Subway has highlighted its sea credentials to the court of public opinion in its the new marketing campaign, stating that not only is the tuna from Subway stores 100% tuna, but it is skipjack, pole-line caught tuna, mixed only with light mayonnaise.

“Our tuna is 100% tuna, and it always will be,” said Angelina Gosal, head of marketing UK & Ireland at Subway. “We want our guests to be reassured and to know – without any room for doubt – that when they are eating one of our most popular subs, the Tuna Sub, they are enjoying 100% tuna – the only things added, apart from light mayo, are the toppings of their choice.”

According to the lawsuit, however, the sandwich is ‘made from anything but tuna’. It has been alleged that according to independent lab tests of ‘multiple samples’ taken from Subway locations in California, the ‘tuna’ is “a mixture of various concoctions that do not constitute tuna, yet have been blended together by defendants to imitate the appearance of tuna.”

Attorneys for the plaintiffs hope to get their claim certified as a class action, which could open the case up to thousands of Subway customers who purchased tuna sandwiches and wraps in California after 21 January 2017.

Shalini Dogra, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, told The Washington Post that: “We found that the ingredients were not tuna and not fish.“ The attorney declined to say exactly what ingredients the lab tests revealed.

The world’s largest sub sandwich franchisee dismissed the allegations as meritless and released the following statement: “There simply is no truth to the allegations in the complaint that was filed in California. Subway delivers 100% cooked tuna to its restaurants, which is mixed with mayonnaise and used in freshly made sandwiches, wraps and salads that are served to and enjoyed by our guests.  The taste and quality of our tuna make it one of Subway’s most popular products and these baseless accusations threaten to damage our franchisees, small business owners who work tirelessly to uphold the high standards that Subway sets for all of its products, including its tuna. Given the facts, the lawsuit constitutes a reckless and improper attack on Subway’s brand and goodwill, and on the livelihood of its California franchisees.  Indeed, there is no basis in law or fact for the plaintiffs’ claims, which are frivolous and are being pursued without adequate investigation.”

Subway added that the lawsuit is “part of a trend in which the named plaintiffs’ attorneys have been targeting the food industry in an effort to make a name for themselves in that space.  Subway will vigorously defend itself against these and any other baseless efforts to mischaracterize and tarnish the high-quality products that Subway and its franchisees provide to their customers, in California and around the world, and intends to fight these claims through all available avenues if they are not immediately dismissed.

“We take the quality of our food very seriously and, as a member of the International Pole & Line Foundation, our restaurants in the UK and Ireland receive 100% pole-line caught, skipjack tuna, which is mixed with light mayonnaise. It is then served on a freshly made sandwich or added to our salads for our guests to enjoy.”



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