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May 9, 2011

Arby's Chicken Salad Taste-Off

I was asked by Arby's to participate in their Chicken Salad Taste-Off to compare Arby's Grilled Chicken & Pecan Salad Sandwich (or wrap) with Subway's popular Orchard Chicken Salad Sub. As part of my participation, I was given a gift card to Arby's and another to Subway to acquire each review item.

In addition, Arby's has graciously earmarked three $5 gift cards to give to three lucky readers (details at the end of this post).

Having previously reviewed both items, (you can check out the review for Subway's sub here and Arby's wrap version here) you might be able to guess how this is going to go and why.
For a more apples to apples comparison (and to try something a little new), I went with the sandwich version of Arby's Chicken & Pecan Salad Sandwich which is served on a very soft honey wheat bread containing 18 grams of whole grains (the wrap version has even more whole grains with 23 grams) that you can taste embedded into the bread. It's available for $4.29 and features a filling of green leaf lettuce, sliced whole chicken breast, red apples, celery, red grapes and pecans. It was actually a lot bigger than I expected and not something I'd typically eat all of in one sitting. It's actually wider than most burgers.

I got my Orchard Chicken Salad on Italian bread (I'm not a fan of Subway's 9-Grain Wheat) with tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, spinach, onions, and bell peppers. Their chicken salad consists of chunks of chicken, celery, red apples, golden raisins, cranberries, and a light mayo. It's their $5 Footlong for May.

Flavor-wise, the two chicken salad filling were fairly similar with a major taste difference being cranberries versus grapes and pecans. Also, Arby's sandwich had bigger chunks of chicken and more chicken per bite. Arby's ingredients are cut bigger resulting in a slightly higher concentration of flavor. Still, both chicken salads aren't too different but I'd give a slight nod to Arby's.
Quality-wise, Arby's chicken salad is made fresh daily and it shows; all the ingredients taste fresh; the apples were crisp, the nuts crunchy, etc. Subway's chicken salad tastes like it comes from a pre-made bag; the ingredients are mushy and mostly indistinguishable in terms of mouth feel. Their regular veggies were pretty fresh as usual though. Also Arby's sandwich uses green leafy lettuce whereas Subway uses iceberg lettuce which has a nice texture but very little nutrients.

Price-wise, your dollar travels a bit further at Subway with $5 bucks covering moderate appetites for two meals whereas Arby's might be one or one and a half meals.

Health-wise, Arby's gives you more whole grains but Subway is generally more healthy for you, with a light mayo and  more options for customization, letting you add on more veggies such as spinach and the like.
I would like to point out that Arby's sandwich is a bit messier as the salad doesn't quite the same cohesiveness of Subway's and the open-ended-ness of two slices of bread allows quite a bit of salad to escape. I shared half my sandwich with the Sister and laughed as she dropped bits of chicken salad on the table, the floor, and her arm as she ate it (I also made a mental note not to sit next for dining occasions). The wrap version is definitely much neater.

Overall, I like both sandwiches but if we're talking taste, I like Arby's version a little more due to texture and quality. And to induce you to taste for yourself, Arby's is offering a printable coupon for a free Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad Wrap with the purchase of a "small" 22-ounce drink for "liking" them on their Facebook page here. In addition, if you come back to their Facebook page and vote on which chicken salad you liked better, Arby's will donate $1 to "Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry" campaign (up to $25,000).

As for the gift card giveaway, just leave a comment saying which you think is better if you've tried both or if you haven't, which looks better based on the pictures above. I'll pull the winners out of the virtual hat on Friday.

Arby's Restaurant Locator

Subway Restaurant Locator

Nutritional Info - Arby's Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad Sandwich (311g)
Calories - 840 (from Fat - 400)
Fat - 44g (Saturated Fat - 6g)
Sodium - 1220mg
Carbs - 82g (Sugar - 20g)
Protein - 34g

Nutritional Info - 6-inch Subway Orchard Chicken Salad Sub (247g)
Calories - 370 (from Fat - 70)
Fat - 8g (Saturated Fat - 1.5g)
Sodium - 660mg
Carbs - 55g (Sugar - 13g)
Protein - 20g


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31 comments :

  1. I've tried both, subways is better

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  2. Do you post the winners? 

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  3. Adam from GrubGrade.comSunday, January 22, 2012

    Also, let me say that one day we will need to find out more about "the sister" haha.

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  4. The Arby's looks pretty good. Gotta say I wanna give it a try...

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  5. Adam from GrubGradeSunday, January 22, 2012

    I'd go with Arby's. I think the quality of their food is solid when compared to Subway, but I think a lot has to depend on the regional store and especially, the local distributors. I'd still say Arby's though!

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  6. Haven't tried either but the bread on Arby's looks delish! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. LIKE the arby's chicken salad SO much better!!!

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  8. I haven't tried the Arby's one, but I tried the one from Subway a while ago and hated it. I've had so many horrible experiences with Subway, I doubt I'll ever go back...

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  9. Arby's does look like the better one, but I'm sure both would be good

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  10. Had the subway version and it was a major letdown. The Arby's one looks a bit better.

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  11. I have only tried the Arby's one but I am a big fan! compared to the subway's picture, which looks like a torpedo, I think I made the right choice.

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  12. I think I'd go with the Arby's version. It just looks fresher.

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  13. Have to go with Arby's

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  14. Gotta go with Subway. The Arby's offering is just ridiculously unhealthy.

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  15. Based on looks, I'd say Arby's is the way to go. I haven't tasted them because I'm not a chicken salad person, but there's no denying the chicken salad in the Arby's photo looks chunkier and like it would be more filling.

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  16. Arby's sandwich is much better. Subway isn't that good but they used to be.

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  17. I like the Arbys version of this chicken salad a lot better than what Subway offers.

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  18. Since you said they taste pretty similar, I'd go with Subway. I just really like their bread, and I like to choose my own veggies, like tomatoes.

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  19. I tried subway .... Couldnt find much chicken ... But i do love both places mmmm arbys sauce nd curly fries

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  20. Arby's is by far the best.

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  21. Having tried other of the 'Market Fresh' sandwiches from Arbys, I would imagine that I'd prefer the Arby's version over the Subways version (haven't tried either)

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  22. I think arby's is better as well.

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  23. Definitely favoring Arby's sandwich over Subway's...

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  24. arby's bro. subways suffers from subway syndrome

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  25. Arby's looks like something I could make on my own but it does look tastier.

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  26. I really don't like Subway's bread, so I think the Arby's version would be far superior.

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  27. I actually think I liked Subway's version better. The berries had more sweetness to it, kinda reminds me of a turkey cranberry sandwich. Arby's tasted healthier but also a little bland.


    PS. Hate you.

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  28. The Arby's version looks like it would taste better.

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  29. Haven't tried either of them, but the Arby's sandwich looks tastier.

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  30. i'm subway all the way! 44 grams of fat, 800 cals in the arbys sandwich?? thats crazy!

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  31. Pronger's ElbowsSunday, January 22, 2012

    It looks like it comes down to a preference of quantity over quality with subway versus arby's. Knowing how sparse subway is with their meats, I'd probably prefer the arby's version on a wrap.

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