Sandwiches─with their universal appeal, limitless versatility and attractive price-points─are bucking the recession and proving to be the country’s most resilient food category. The sandwich form itself is infinitely variable and delightfully portable: a sandwich can be simple or complex, everyday or gourmet, healthy or indulgent, hot or cold, and even sweet as well as savory. It remains one of the most approachable, friendly and relevant foods across all consumer groups. In short, sandwiches aren’t just an important part of the American diet: they are essential
But like most food categories today, this much beloved staple has undergone an exciting 21st-century transformation. Classic sandwiches are getting ingredient upgrades on every level - carrier, fillings and condiments. These upgrades could be from artisan, local or sustainable ingredients, reflecting a chef ’s touch or a regional flavor profile. Creative sandwich makers are also tweaking the form for flavor adventure, adding global touches and bursts of exoticism with new international breads, attention-grabbing fillings, and spicy sauces. Some sandwiches are even solving consumers’ quandaries over healthful eating by offering more nutritious components in appropriate portion sizes, yet still satisfying with layers of mouthwatering flavor.
This report examines today’s emerging sandwich trends and offers strategic ideas on how to put new spins on a classic and import creative concepts for new marketing opportunities.
Here’s what’s on the menu:
- The “Fine Fast” Sandwich Shop: These gourmet sandwich shops feature high-quality, artisan and locally sourced ingredients and a wide range of house-made condiments and toppings.
- The Asian Sandwich Invasion: Bao (a Taiwanese pork-based sandwich, served on a steamed bun) and banh mi (a Vietnamese sandwich featuring grilled meat or pâté served on a French roll) perfectly marry the familiar with sandwich versions new to Americans.
- The Reinvented Jewish Deli: Concerns about the dwindling numbers of traditional Jewish delis have led to a new spin on an old favorite that’s more “sustainable, affordable and ethical.”
- Glamorous Grilled Cheese: This nostalgic favorite is being upgraded to appeal to more sophisticated consumer tastes with freshly baked specialty bread, artisan cheese and a multitude of toppings.
- The Great Sandwich Shop Takeover: Some sandwich shop chains are innovating on the sandwich form, offering more healthful options, global flavor profiles and local sourcing of ingredients.
- Pulled Pork Sandwich: This long-standing North Carolina barbecue favorite is getting national attention. While its flavor profile is new to many, it evokes the South and aligns nicely with America’s current devotion to pork.
- Better Burgers: Americans love burgers but are ready for a quality upgrade that still maintains a good value. This means adding various types of exotic toppings, using grass-fed or locally sourced beef, home-made or heartier buns—or all of the above.
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The Culinary Trend Mapping Report is an indispensable tool for those whose job it is to stay abreast of what's hot - and what will be - in the food world.
The reports leverage the Center for Culinary Development’s (CCD) signature Trend Mapping technique, a validated method for identifying which culinary trends are gaining traction and which are simply flashes in the pan.
Each 65+ page journal is packed with trends, data, strategies and insights on the food industry that simply aren't available anywhere else.
Each Issue of the Culinary Trends Mapping Report
- Identifies the maturity level of foods and ingredients according to CCD’s unique, proprietary 5-stage trend mapping process.
- Concentrates on a theme that is affecting the food industry, and then looks at the emerging and established trends along the Trend Map that are shaping this theme.
- Delves into these trends and what they mean for you and the manufacturing, retailing, and foodservice industries.
- Gives strategic insight into how consumers are thinking of and reacting to new foods and ingredients.
- Provides business know-how regarding opportunities, challenges, and ways to implement current trends into foodservice, retail, and packaged goods operations.
- Presents a feature interview with a member chef from CCD’s exclusive 80+ member Chefs’ Council who offers expert analysis and unique perspective on a specific trend.
Trend Mapping is guided by the premise that major food trends pass through five distinct stages on their way to the mainstream:
- Stage 1: The ingredient, dish and/or cooking technique appears at upscale dining establishments, ethnic and popular independent restaurants.
- Stage 2: The item is featured in specialty consumer-oriented food magazines such as Bon Appetit plus retail stores such as Sur La Table that target culinary professionals and serious home cooks.
- Stage 3: The item begins to appear in mainstream chain restaurants—Applebee's or Chili's—as well as retail stores such as Williams-Sonoma that target recreational cooks.
- Stage 4: Publications such as Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens pick up the buzz.
- Stage 5: Finally, the trend makes its way to quick service restaurant menus and either starts to appear or gains increased mainstream presence on grocery store shelves.
Published bimonthly, the Culinary Trend Mapping Report is available for purchase as a single issue or a six-issue subscription.