Subway will test plant-based Beyond Meatball Marinara sub at select locations

Kelly Tyko

Subway will test a plant-based protein at nearly 700 restaurants, the sandwich chain announced Wednesday.

Starting in September and for a limited time, select locations will have the Beyond Meatball Marinara sub as part of a new partnership with Beyond Meat.

“Our guests want to feel good about what they eat and they also want to indulge in new flavors,” said Len Van Popering, Subway chief brand and innovation officer, in a statement. “With our new plant-based Beyond Meatball Marinara sub, we are giving them the best of both worlds.”

The new meatless meatball sub will launch as a limited-time pilot in restaurants in Jackson, Mississippi; South Bend, Indiana; Fresno, California; Louisville, Kentucky and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Subway said in a statement to USA TODAY.

Plant-based and vegan fast-food options:Choices keep sprouting with more meat-free products coming

Impossible Whopper:Burger King's plant-based Whopper arrives Aug. 8 at restaurants nationwide

Subway will test the Beyond Meatball Marinara sub at 685 participating locations starting in September.

The demand for plant-based products is growing as more people want to reduce meat consumption because of health concerns.

On Thursday, Burger King's Impossible Whopper, which is a plant-based patty from food startup Impossible Foods, will be available nationwide for a limited time.

Subway's new sandwich “takes its inspiration from the brand’s classic sandwich but with a plant-based twist,” the company said in its statement. The Beyond Meatball was created for Subway.

“The sub offers the same mouthwatering flavor as Subway’s traditional meatball sub and is packed with protein – 24 grams per six-inch sub,” the statement said.

Subway says its North America consumers are able to create more than 1 billion meatless sandwich, flatbread, and Signature Wrap combinations. Adding the Beyond Meatball doubles the options to 2 billion.

"We're excited to partner with Subway and are grateful that the menu team through to senior management has entrusted us as their innovation partner to deliver delicious plant-based proteins to their guests,” said Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat founder and CEO, in Subway’s statement.

Like with most restaurants menu item tests, depending on how the product performs it could be rolled out to further tests and then considered for a nationwide launch.

"We anticipate guests across Canada and U.S. will be encouraging us to expand, so we hope to make a decision soon," Subway said in its statement.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko