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How to beat the sandwich competition

sandwiches toppings

Sandwiches are a link to culinary innovation. On any given day, about one half (47 percent) of all U.S. adults eat one or more sandwiches, according to the USDA. There’s clear potential for operators to sell more sandwiches if they find the sweet spot, using on-trend and unique ingredients that increase layers of flavors and texture combinations.

But while the opportunity for growth in sandwiches is there, consumer tastes are changing. Most sandwiches have meat, poultry or fish as their primary filling, but consumers now want innovative and enhanced recipes, premium toppings, global and ethnic flavor profiles, local ingredients and healthy alternatives.

One way to meet these desires: signature condiments and sauces. These easy upgrades add flavor and value to sandwiches, allowing operators to create market separation. Tomato pesto, whole grain mustard, Sriracha, bacon mayonnaise and béchamel sauce are the fastest growing sandwich toppings at limited and full-service restaurants, according to Technomic MenuMonitor data for Q1 2015 to Q1 2016.

Add-on ingredients also help boost check averages. Cheese is the most popular add-on to any sandwich, with 66 percent of consumers willing to pay more for sandwiches that feature cheese, according to Technomic’s 2016 Sandwich Consumer Trend Report. The top five choices are cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, provolone and Monterey jack.

Here’s a look at creative sandwich offerings on menus today:

  • Grocery retailer Lunds & Byerlys revamped tried-and-true favorites by creating innovative deli sandwiches with premium ingredients, such as the Bistro Salumi and Brie Sandwich on a French sandwich roll with Brie spread, prosciutto, Italian dry-cured salami, rosemary ham, baby arugula, white balsamic glaze and shaved Parmesan.
  • Food services and facilities management company Sodexo implemented its Mindful Certification Program at workplace and school cafes to offer better-for-you options and ethnic flavors, such as a fresh mozzarella and red pepper rollup, a rellenos quesadilla, and a sweet potato and black bean burger with Chihuahua cheese.
  • Family restaurant chain Friendly’s gave a face-lift to six classic sandwiches, such as its Honey BBQ Chicken SuperMelt® with sweet honey BBQ sauce, melted cheddar cheese, applewood-smoked bacon and ranch dressing on freshly grilled sourdough bread.
  • Causal dining bar and restaurant chain Bar Louie menus 10 different sandwiches full of meat and meatless options, such as the grilled veggie wrap with sauteed carrots, red pepper, broccoli, fresh spinach, avocado, queso fresco, hummus and pesto mayo.

This post is sponsored by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

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