CHICAGO -- Consumers are eating more than three sandwiches a week, but more than half of them indicate they are preparing them themselves. This means operators and suppliers need to focus on hard-to-duplicate menu items to entice consumers to purchase more sandwiches away from home, according to Technomic Inc., a research firm.
Zeroing in on the quality of their sandwich ingredients is also essential. Compared to two years ago, today's consumers place higher importance on quality and quantity, as well as the appetizing appearance of sandwich ingredients, according to Technomic's latest Sandwich Consumer Trend Report.
"Quality sandwich ingredients are a must," said Darren Tristano, executive vice- president of Technomic. "In order for sandwich operators to drive traffic and steal share, they have to strengthen the quality perception by promoting freshness and customization opportunities, while giving guests a more interesting range of toppings, breads and proteins that emphasize variety."
Technomic's survey found that sandwiches fill the need for fast, convenient and portable meal options: three out of every five sandwiches (61%) that consumers order are taken to go, and 49% of consumers sometimes purchase grab-and-go sandwiches.
Additionally, most consumers place high importance on health for sandwiches at lunch (51%) and dinner (53%). Only 43% are satisfied with the healthfulness of sandwiches away from home, while 50% would like to see more healthy sides to pair with sandwiches.
Technomic also found that diners would like more restaurants to offer mini sandwiches, with 35% seeking them on the menu, up from just 26% in 2010.