Any way you slice it, the humble sandwich is trending

Sandwiches are on the move at Canadian full and quick service restaurants.

In its Canadian Sandwich Consumer Trend Report, Technomic reported that 58 per cent of consumers purchased a sandwich away from home during the work or school week for lunch, and 35 per cent of consumers opted for sandwiches at dinner when eating out. It’s a lucrative meal type, and operators are getting it right by also capitalizing on emerging consumer preferences for ethnic sauces and ingredients, healthy options and the blurring of traditional mealtimes.

Blurring mealtimes mean one thing: all-day breakfast. Limited and full-service restaurants are increasingly breaking down the early daypart by offering all-day breakfast. Consequently, breakfast sandwich ingredients including egg, different cheeses and familiar proteins like bacon and ham, as well as more adventurous options like chorizo sausage and steak, are all trending with consumers. English muffins, bagels, wraps, croissants and — naturally — bread are the preferred carriers according to Technomic, while the latter can be broken down further, with consumers showing a preference for Italian, multigrain and whole wheat bread.

More is More

While traditional mealtimes erode, Gen Z and Millennials are also entertaining their preferences for global flavours through sandwiches. Despite the increasing prevalence of globally-inflected menu options, a significant minority — 32 per cent — of these younger consumers would still like more options. Operators should cater to that preference and elevate their sandwiches by leveraging new or unique sauces and ingredients like chipotle and sambal to deliver savoury, smoky and spicy flavours. Top trending global sandwiches include Italian, French, Mexican and Mediterranean, while Indian, Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean sandwiches are popular among younger consumers. Try new combinations and make some noise with limited-time offerings.

Affordability and portion size also resonate with consumers who are looking for premium quality and healthfulness but without the premium cost. The key is to offer something distinct. Consumers are after something they can’t make at home, so capitalize on multiple trends and try to marry healthy, fresh and global flavours.

Finally, as local ingredients are trending, be sure to let your guests know when you have them via in-store promotion or social media to truly leverage sandwich sales.

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