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Sandwiches: Culinary Trend Tracking Series
Sandwiches are a culinary form for which the U.S. market a center of gravity, not least because of eager adoption and adaptation of favorite formats and fillings from around the world. The sandwich is a staple food in the American diet, with Packaged Facts survey data showing that 79% of U.S. adults having eaten a sandwich in the past seven days. The sandwich reigns supreme on menus across restaurant sectors, and is a standard in deli and prepared foods at retail.
Leveraging progressive food sourcing and food preparation practices, restaurants and food manufacturers are increasingly focused on providing sandwiches that are fresh, naturally produced, locally sourced, and either culturally authentic or genuinely creative in culinary concept. This focus dovetails with two of the most important consumer drivers in the sandwich market, the demands for flavor adventure and authenticity.
The influence of health trends is evident in growing use of leaner proteins in sandwiches. Leafy veggies also will be getting more play as a sandwich component—sometimes in health-minded ways alongside better-for-you proteins such as lean poultry or egg whites, sometimes in indulgent sandwiches. Too often overlooked as a source for creativity in building a sandwich, bread is finally getting its due, whether with better-for-you doughs or with indulgent and culturally authentic options such as brioche or sourdough. Distinctive breads as sandwich filling carriers are highly effective attention getters.
This issue of Culinary Trend Tracking Series profiles eight sandwich types that are gaining in importance on restaurant menus and in prepared foods/deli retailing. International and regional influences are notably evident, as is the desire for bolder flavors and healthier alternatives.
Garden Tartines. The tartine is a time-honored open-faced sandwich whose core simplicity belies its haute culinary name. Although tartines can be made with all manner of ingredients, a new trend emerges when the garden is piled onto the bread to create a produce-based (often vegetarian, and potentially vegan) still life of a sandwich. Think of this school of tartines as farm-to-slice of bread, the farm-to-table trend translated into carefully landscaped sandwiches.
Tortas and Cemitas. Mexico’s beloved tortas and cemitas are trending thanks to interest in international sandwiches and street foods and to the development of the quality and experience-oriented fast casual restaurant segment.
Croque Monsieur and Madame. With an interest in culturally authentic international cuisine revolutionizing diners’ choices, the croque-monsieur or madame provide a fresh take on familiar ingredients—and there is no shortage of options for variations.
Brisket Sandwich. Brisket is trending as comfort food continues its culinary ascent. Brisket both on and off of sandwiches is one of the hottest regional American trends, even in NYC and on non-BBQ menus, and everyone from fast casual restaurants to high-end chefs can appeal to a new generation of consumers by featuring brisket with classic spirit or distinctive twists.
Cuban Sandwich. The Cuban Sandwich, or Cubano, layers ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles (and sometimes salami, Tampa style) on lard-based Cuban bread, and then is pressed like a panini into gooey, crusty goodness. The Cuban is enjoying a renaissance across the U.S. as chefs explore a variety of ingredient combinations, or simply upgrade classic recipes.
Sweet & Savory Sandwiches. Use of jam in hot or cold sandwiches has increased to 11% of restaurants serving sandwiches in 2014, with usage in hot sandwiches nearly doubling over that period. Looking for new ways to satisfy a sweet tooth, consumers are open to sophisticated sweet & savory sandwich offerings.
Protein-based Salad Sandwiches. Like most classic sandwiches, the protein-based salad sandwich has been transformed in recent years by upgrades to fillings, condiments, sauces, breads, and accompaniments.
Breakfast Sandwiches. Terms like natural, local, seasonal, and sustainable are increasingly catching consumers’ eyes on menus and packaging, yet are four times more likely to appear on non-breakfast items, leaving plenty of opportunity for catch-up in the breakfast sandwich space.
Culinary Trend Tracking Series (CuTTS) is the essential source for tracking culinary trends and opportunities in the restaurant, foodservice, retail prepared foods, and packaged food and beverage sectors. This report series empowers the menu and food manufacturing innovation of executives, strategists, chefs, and food research professionals in R&D/product development, market and consumer insights, brand management, and trade and consumer marketing.
CuTTs provides authoritative culinary trend and opportunity analysis within the framework of today’s key sales growth drivers:
Health and wellness, including ingredient spotlights and ingredient avoidance trends
Flavor adventure and tourism
Food integrity and authenticity
Craft and artisanal
Each Culinary Trend Tracking Series report (75 pages plus) takes a sustained look at a key topic area such as meal-time or snacking trends, international cuisines, or indulgence eating, or at a broad menu and product category such as proteins, vegetables and sides, baked goods, condiments, sweets and desserts, and beverages. In each issue, the most salient food industry opportunities are encapsulated in category relevance and trend application tables and graphics that lay out the current current and future
Culinary Trend Tracking Series provides the expert analysis our clients have come to rely on to make the right strategic decisions, at the right time. These reports continue our tradition of providing top-level studies that combine a unique set of raw data with an informed focus on market opportunities.
CuTTS will be an essential resource for you in
Identifying future opportunities in menu offerings and packaged foods & beverages
Leveraging the long-term drivers that are truly propelling food industry trends
Tracking trends in fine dining restaurant, foodservice, retail prepared foods, and packaged foods
Matching emerging trends to your organization’s ongoing menu and product development
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