Some Subway locations are experiencing sandwich meat shortages — and an outbreak of Avian flu may be partly to blame. According to Restaurant Business online, a restaurant industry magazine, franchisees are reporting difficulty obtaining meat for their popular sandwiches. Store operators told the outlet that sliced turkey has been hard to come by following the closure of a meat processing plant due to the bird flu. Some store owners also said that ham and roast beef have been scarce.
A Subway spokesperson told Restaurant Business online that the shortages stem from “supply issues due to a temporary production issue at a protein supplier.” TODAY Food reached out to Subway for comment but did not immediately hear back.
Ongoing supply chain issues — in addition to the bird flu — could be to blame for the sandwich chain’s issues.
"We are seeing higher turkey, chicken and egg prices but I haven’t seen any data suggesting widespread stock-outs or shortages," said Jayson L. Lusk, a distinguished professor and head of the department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University in an email to TODAY Food. "Bird flu has been a key contributor to the recent rise in turkey and egg prices, but it isn’t the complete explanation — higher feed prices, higher transportation and energy costs and higher wages are also to blame. Only a small share of the nation’s broiler chickens have been affected by bird flu, so the disease can’t explain the price rises of chicken meat."
According to the USDA, there have been 301 confirmed flocks affected by bird flu, with 176 of those being commercial flocks. Avian flu, which is highly contagious and has even been transmitted to humans, requires farms to euthanize affected flocks. This has driven the price of eggs and poultry to record highs this spring.
Last month, the USDA predicted that poultry prices would rise by 7.5% and 8.5% in 2022.