This week has seen the return of the great British Sandwich Week, taking place from 9th to 14th May 2016.
On average, Britons chomp their way through 11.5 billion sandwiches each year, of which at least 3.5 billion are purchased from UK retail or catering outlets, according to The British Sandwich Association.
The UK’s love for sandwiches as a nation is so profound that the same amount spent in one year could have bought 36,500 brand new Ferraris.
Retailers and sandwich shops work hard to gain value share of this dominant market. American giant Subway is currently winning the race, however UK retailers Tesco, Greggs and Marks & Spencer’s are also high in the running.
The UK prepared sandwich market, currently employing more than 300,000 people, is forecast to grow by almost 3% in volume and value to 2018 according to Canadean. The main factor driving the market is the change in consumer needs such as time pressed, health conscious shoppers searching for convenient yet adventurous food choices. The industry is responding accordingly by offering vast bread varieties and fillings and basic value ranges to the ultimate in indulgence options.
Despite increased innovation in the industry, the more traditional fillings continue to hold much of the market share. Within the UK, the most popular sandwich filling in the pre-prepared sandwich market is chicken representing almost a quarter of the market, followed by fish (including tuna and prawn) with 18%, cheese 15%, ham 12%, bacon 10% and egg 7%.
Packaging is also an important part of the sandwich consumer’s experience, especially since the individual needs and requirements have become so varied. For the convenience-craving consumer looking for a quick bite to eat on their way to the next meeting, easy-carry and food-to-go kits are must; whereas the more demanding and adventurous consumer may prefer a premium feel, innovative, open sandwich design to enjoy at his or her leisure.
LINPAC Vertiwrap, a contemporary design for wraps and tortillas, is ideal for on-the-go consumption due to its robust, yet easy open, hinged design. It scores highly in a retail environment thanks to its crystal clear design which offers 360 product visibility, thanks to its vertical display on the shelf.
LINPAC predicts the emergence of more combination packs which may bring together ideas such as soup and a sandwich into one convenient pack design, hanging vertical sandwich packs and easy-to-open designs perfect for the growing ageing population.
Even taking into account the growing popularity of other sandwich alternatives such as salad, sushi and soups, the sandwich market continues to bloom.