Sandwich Wins Popularity Contest at Home and on the Road

March 12, 2015

CHICAGO—Portable, compact, convenient and customizable, the American population consumes more than 300 million sandwiches per day according to the History Channel. On a daily basis, 49 percent of U.S. adults eat at least one sandwich, and on average 3.6 sandwiches per week. In the March issue of Food Technology magazine published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), senior writer/editor Toni Tarver writes about why the sandwich is a sure culinary bet.

The most predominant filling in most sandwiches is some type of meat. Variations of beef, pork, turkey, and chicken dominate the most commonly consumed sandwiches in America. Market research indicates that the most popular sandwiches prepared at home are turkey and ham, and the most popular sandwiches purchased out are burgers, deli and sub sandwiches, and chicken sandwiches. (Datassential, 2014; Technomic, 2014)

When it comes to burgers, freshness and customizability are at the top of the list of what consumers want. Fast casual burger chains have higher quality meat and ingredients such as kale, smoked jalapenos, Gruyere, and manchego cheeses. Even with the projected price of beef rising, it’s not expected to impact consumers demand for burgers with revenue at fast casual burger chains projected to reach $29.8 billion by 2019 (Gray, 2014). Due to the debut of better burgers and upscale burger chains, the chicken sandwich has been on a slow decline. Restaurant servings of grilled chicken declined by 9 percent last year— a loss of 129 million servings (NPD Group, 2015).

More customers are also enjoying sandwiches as a snack so a variety of mini-sandwiches could boost sales and revenue (Technomic, 2014). Other trends include sandwiches made with soppressata, pork belly, eggs (fried or boiled), pork shoulder, sausage and pulled meats (Datassential, 2014).

There are two categories of sandwiches with potential for segment growth: breakfast sandwiches and ethnic sandwiches. Analysts suspect that the rise in consumption of breakfast sandwiches may be linked to the fall in cereal consumption as consumers are looking for better taste, freshness and quality in a portable breakfast meal. Although, currently at the bottom of the list, the ethnic sandwich like the banh mi, Cuban sandwich and torta all have room for growth.

Read the full article in Food Technology here

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