Few foods are as essential to the American diet as the versatile and ubiquitous sandwich. Research indicates the sandwich is a staple food across the full spectrum of U.S. adults regardless of gender, age, household income, race, or geographic location. Roughly 79 percent of all adults have eaten a sandwich in the past seven days, according to data published in the all-new Packaged Facts report, Sandwiches: Market Trends and Opportunities.
Sandwiches typically carry a healthier halo than other menu items, such as their burger cousins, which is a factor that has sustained the popularity of sandwiches among parents and other adults who are increasingly seeking healthier food options especially when dining away from home. Subway is perhaps the most well-known example of a restaurant chain that has successfully positioned itself as a health-forward brand in the limited-service foodservice landscape through the strength of its sandwich-centric menu.
Despite the proliferation of restaurant choice, making sandwiches at home remains the more prevalent option: Some 83 percent of adults say that, in the last week, they have eaten a sandwich made at home, versus 62 percent for sandwiches made outside of the home. Nevertheless, the lines between foodservice sandwiches and their homemade counterparts are blurring as various restaurant-inspired culinary trends are finding their ways into domestic food preparations.
“In light of consumers’ openness to culinary adventure and restaurants’ broadening culinary boundaries with menu items ranging from proteins to sauces and flavors, we are not surprised to find that many culinary-forward sandwich components gaining traction on restaurant menus are also making their way into the home,” says David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts.
In the report, Packaged Facts pinpoints opportunity to weave emerging pork variants (including smoked pork, pork belly, and sopressata) into the at-home sandwich mix and ample opportunity to broaden bread options beyond wheat to include the likes of French baguettes, Texas toast, ciabatta, and brioche. Packaged Facts also found opportunity to create new flavors and sauces, but to a lesser extent, because these have the biggest effect on changing sandwich taste and thus incremental change may prove more successful.