International restaurant chain Subway, which has over 37,000 outlets in the world, is all set to launch its first ever all vegetarian outlet ever after a private state university in Jalandhar convinced the US based company on the benefits of vegetarianism.
Jalandhar-based Lovely Professional University (LPU), run by a strict Hindu Mittal family known for promotion of vegetarian meals on the campus, inked the deal with Subway in November last year.
"Our university promotes healthy eating for its students and we as a brand are known for our fresh and low-fat sandwiches and salads. It was a natural fit for Subway to be present here," said LPU vice-chancellor Ashok Mittal in a report by TOI.
The outlet will be operational on September 4, the first Tuesday of the month (Normally, Indians abstain from non-veg food on Tuesdays). This will be a marked change in form for the company that has established very popular meat-based subways (a variation sandwich) and has only two vegetarian products in its American and European menus
"We as a brand are always sensitive to the requirements of the markets that we are in. India as a country has a large vegetarian population and right from the beginning of the brand's presence in India, we have had separate counters for our vegetarian and non-vegetarian sandwiches. In reviewing the requirements of the university campus and the customer base, we have created an all-veg menu for our Subway outlet at LPU," Chetan Arora, development agent, Subway India, said.
At present, Subway has 280 outlets in India. None of them sells beef and all of them have an entirely separate counter serving six vegetarian preparations such as chickpeas, aloo patty, veggi shammi, paneer-based salads and so on.
Faced with thousands of consumers begging for more meatless options and organisations like People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) running Compassion Over Killing campaigns, many restaurant chains, including Pizza Hut in Gujarat, have turned meatless in the past.
According to UN Food and Agricultural Organisaton figures from 2007, the most recent figures available, India's per capita meat consumption rates are still below the average in Asia - 27 kg - and the rest of the world, which eats 38 kg.