On the rise: Subway to test King’s Hawaiian bread in select US restaurants

By Kristine Sherred contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Taira family started King's on the big island of Hawaii in the 1950s, after mastering a recipe inspired by Portuguese sweet bread. Pic: King's Hawaiian
The Taira family started King's on the big island of Hawaii in the 1950s, after mastering a recipe inspired by Portuguese sweet bread. Pic: King's Hawaiian

Related tags: Bread, Restaurant, Sandwiches, New product launches, Trends, trendspotting, Bakery, partnership

The sandwich chain will gauge consumer response to the sweet white bread in three cities.

Starting June 27, customers in Champaign, Illinois; Reno, Nevada; and Richmond, Virginia will be given the opportunity to try two sandwiches ‘Aloha Style’ – a deluxe version with double the meat and cheese – on an 8-inch Hawaiian submarine roll baked in-house.

Subway is the second major foodservice establishment to offer the bread, which typically only retail stores carry. Fast-food chain Arby’s also offers two sandwiches on King’s Hawaiian bread, but not baked in-house. 

“These sandwiches are unlike anything out there and Subway is offering guests a chance to try this iconic bread like they never tasted before – freshly baked,”​ said Len Van Popering, Subway’s chief brand and innovation officer.

King’s Hawaiian CEO Mark Taira added, “It’s a unique and exciting opportunity for us to work together with Subway to bake fresh King’s Hawaiian bread in restaurants every day. Subway’s commitment and love for baking fresh bread matches our own, and we look forward to guests being able to enjoy our joint passion.”

A uniquely Hawaiian bread

Robert R. Taira started King’s Hawaiian on the big island of Hawaii in the 1950s. After attending baking school, he opened a namesake bakery, where he developed his recipe for ‘sweet bread’ based on a traditional Portuguese bread recipe, known as pão doce​ or massa sovada​ (kneaded dough).

Today, King’s Hawaiian operates two commercial bakeries in the US: one south of Los Angeles in Torrance, California, and the other north of Atlanta in Oakwood, Georgia. The company produces a line of ‘soft and fluffy’ rolls, buns and loaves.

Unlike standard white bread recipes, Hawaiian bread features butter and eggs, similar to a brioche. Some recipes even call for the addition of pineapple juice and brown sugar to enhance the sweetness. King’s recipe also adds yellow corn, potato and soy flours.

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