Subway joins companies dropping artificial ingredients

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NEW YORK — Subway has joined the list of companies dropping artificial ingredients.

The sandwich chain, based in Milford, Conn., known for its marketing itself as a fresher alternative to hamburger chains tells The Associated Press it will drop artificial flavors, colors and preservatives from its menu in North America by 2017.

Whether that can help Subway keep up with changing attitudes about what qualifies as healthy remains to be seen.

The purging of artificial ingredients is quickly becoming the norm among major food companies, which are facing pressure from smaller players that tout their food as more wholesome.

Subway’s announcement comes at a challenging time for the chain.

Last year, sales for Subway stores in the U.S. averaged $475,000, a 3 percent decline from the previous year, according to industry tracker Technomic.