Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Food Facts

Ever get excited about a sandwich?

Consumers Want More Sandwich Variety

New research from foodservice consultants Technomic found that though preferences for traditional sandwiches remain strong, consumers are looking for greater variety in sandwich ingredients available from limited- and full-service restaurants.

A survey of more than 1,500 consumers revealed that over one third (39 percent) of those eating at limited-service restaurants and 51 percent at full-service restaurants were not fully satisfied with available sandwich options, wanting new and unique ingredient offerings, flavors and combinations.

Among the more interesting findings of the report:

-- Sandwiches continue to be a strong mainstay of restaurant fare, making up 31 percent of all limited-service restaurant entrees and 15 percent of entrees at full-service restaurants.

-- Bold flavor profiles and the use of artisanal and premium breads, ingredients and sandwich spreads are growing trends in sandwich differentiation. The sandwich concept itself allows for a great deal of innovation as well as portability to meet the needs of consumers on the go.

-- The sandwich segment is appealing to health-conscious consumers through offering high-quality, fresh, local and organic ingredients. Consumer interest in healthy sandwich ingredients continues to grow, with 44 percent of consumers wanting sandwiches made with locally-grown ingredients and 30 percent with organic ingredients.

-- Sandwiches, once viewed as lunch fare, are important to all dayparts. Toasted sandwiches and paninis are increasing in popularity as entree options in the dinner daypart, while the portability of breakfast sandwiches boosts breakfast daypart sales. Sandwiches are also gaining ground in the growing away-from-home snacking segment.

"Sandwiches are growing in share in all dayparts while consumers are asking for more variety in sandwich selections," says Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President of Technomic Information Services. "Given strong consumer trends toward healthy eating and an increasing consumer appetite for bolder flavors and premium ingredients, this presents an enormous opportunity for operators to menu more innovative sandwich offerings."

(Source: Technomic, Inc., 05/21/08)

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