June 13/Chicago/PRNewswire -- Sandwiches are the cornerstone of lunch and dinner menus at both limited- and full-service restaurants, where they are offered more than any other entree. More consumers report purchasing sandwiches away from home today vs. just two years ago due in large part to operators becoming increasingly innovative and responsive to consumers' demand for lower prices, greater variety, fresher fare, flexible portions and healthier items.

"Today's consumer expects greater customization and broader sandwich options," says Technomic executive vice president Darren Tristano. "Trends in portion flexibility, variety, freshness and shareability have come to the forefront of this segment. Shareable options give operators a chance to go beyond the standard menu and try new ethnic sandwiches. Often these ethnic and next-level sandwiches, which focus on gourmet ingredients and toppings, are introduced through mini sandwiches or wraps. Giving consumers smaller, shareable portion options can be considered as healthier with fewer calories. This trend shows no signs of slowing down."

To help operators and others aligned with the foodservice industry more effectively identify opportunities for growth and gain a competitive advantage, Technomic has developed the “Canadian Sandwich Consumer Trend Report.”

Interesting findings include:

  • 28% of consumers would like more mini-sandwich offerings at restaurants, up from 23% in 2010, signaling a greater need for portable and convenient meal options.
  • Gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches continue to take off. This simple sandwich staple is getting an update, as whole concepts are being built on the appeal of high-end, high-quality grilled cheese.
  • Pitas are the top sandwich bread on LSR menus.  Limited-service chains also make frequent use of Panini breads and bagels, while full-service brands veer toward tortillas and buns.
  • Over half of consumers polled (51%) say they purchase grab-and-go sandwiches, this up from 36% just two years ago.

 From the June 14, 2012, Prepared Foods’ Daily News