Veg-centric Sandwich Rising
Culinary Visions panel study suggests Millennials are driving focus toward vegetable sandwiches
Veg-centric sandwich concepts take center stage with Millennial consumers according to a new study by Culinary Visions® Panel. This exclusive online consumer research study explored more than 1,000 consumers’ sandwich habits, attitudes, preferences and willingness to try new concepts.
Culinary Visions Panel developed 10 next generation sandwich concepts exclusively for this study to find out how adventurous consumers are when it comes to trying new sandwich ingredient combinations. Four of the top five sandwich concepts preferred by Millennials were veg-centric in nature.
Veg-centric – not vegetarian – is a macro trend influencing menus across all segments of the foodservice industry. Vegetables are moving from side dish to center of the plate with new and interesting techniques. Most of these new menu items use protein sparingly to provide layers of craveable flavor. The next great sandwich concept could incorporate a unique mix of vegetables, with a protein garnish.
"Innovative vegetable preparations are finding their way onto more parts of the menu in all segments of the foodservice industry, and that's what inspired our culinary ideation of sandwich concepts where vegetables are star ingredients,” said Sharon Olson, Executive Director of Culinary Visions Panel. “We believe they have real potential to delight a wide range of customers because some concepts may be vegetarian and yet many include meat as well. I think consumers are telling us they are ready for delicious, flavorful and craveable veg-centric sandwiches."
Millennials may be a good target, as more than one-third of these consumers would try the Vegetable Sandwich, while only a quarter of those ages 35-54 would choose the meat-free option. The Vegetable Sandwich, which ranked second overall with Millennial consumers, included ingredients like arugula, tomato, avocado, caramelized onion and melted cheese between crispy plantains.
The veg-centric theme continues, with a third of respondents interested in the Omelet Sandwich, which was rated third among the 10 concepts tested. This combines spinach, pepper jack cheese, roasted red peppers, and a sprinkling of bacon in an egg wrap.
Also highly rated with Millennials was the Salad Cone, a salad-as-a-sandwich concept that combines grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, onion, tomato and ranch dressing in cone-shaped brioche. And rounding out the top 5 was the Paleo sandwich with avocado spread, romaine lettuce, peppers, fresh herbs and accents of garlic marinated shrimp, enrobed in an almond flour wrap.