SANDWICHES IN NUMBERS
Let’s start off with some trends and numbers – sandwiches are big business, with 70% of Americans eating a sandwich at least twice a week. Most of that market share is captured by food service establishments: only 18% of these sandwiches are being purchased from a grocery store, a number that’s ripe for growth.
Before getting into a more juicy topic, a couple more numbers:
- Roughly half of all consumers say they’re looking for a larger selection of sandwiches showcasing new or unique flavors.
- 20% of American consumers would like to see more meat-free sandwiches in display cases, with Millennials leading the charge.
To sum it up: retailers can capture the taste buds of shoppers thanks to a sandwich selection that’s diverse, fresh, and inventive. To counter the pull of foodservice establishments, retailers have various tools. A pleasant seating area can further entice customers to head to a store rather than a foodservice establishment. A solid selection of premade sandwiches offers an unparalleled speed of service, while made-to-order specialties will be a plus for shoppers who like to personalize their meals.
CULINARY TIPS FOR THE BEST SANDWICHES
A great sandwich is the perfect on-the-go meal. While it may be the first “dish” most of us prepare, it can be deceptively difficult to create a perfect sandwich. The secret is in the layers.
Bread: your bread should taste good on its own, but also be the right texture for the fillings. Crunchy baguette is an ideal textural contrast to soft cheeses and silky cured meats, while a soft roll is better paired with crispy eggplant or chicken. Specialty breads offer a little extra – how about homemade focaccia or a croissant? No matter the bread, hollowing out the top part of the bread allows for more room for delicious fillings, and reduces the chances of the contents spilling out on your shopper’s lap.
But what about ditching the gluten? Gluten-free breads or sturdy salad leaves can act as external layers of many sandwiches.
Condiments: dryness is the cardinal sin of all sandwiches. Condiments are the first way to add moisture to your sando, with the benefit of adding texture and flavor to boot. Mayonnaise & mustard are the most common, but the sky is the limit: Mustards, BBQ sauces, tapenades, pestos, and spreads can be used in tandem. Tangy condiments will offer the advantage of cutting through the rich & fatty flavor of cheese or cured meats.
Olive oil, butter are other good options, and just like mayo, can be easily flavored with zippy spices (think calabrese pepper butter, or saffron mayonnaise). A slick of condiment can also help to insulate the bread from moist ingredients such as juicy tomatoes.
Vegetables: crunchy and refreshing, tomatoes and salad will always be good choices – don’t forget to season them lightly for added flavor. Other additions could be julienned carrots, shaved cucumber, roughly chopped olives. Different cuts can highlight the best of each vegetable, while reducing ingredient slippage.
Pickled or sun-dried vegetables offer flavorful alternatives to out-of-season raw produce: cornichons, sundried peppers, marinated artichokes can all add a punch of flavor to the mix.
Protein: perhaps the “heart” of the sandwich, the main protein is also what catches your shopper’s attention. Cured meats are a no-brainer – but meatless options are just as important. Olive-oil packed tuna or breaded & fried veggies offer that satisfying, filling effect while appealing to a certain demographic.
When it comes to meats, thin slices, draped rather than layered, offer more surface area and more flavor. And while good old American Oil-Browned Turkey or Roast Beef elicit nostalgia and comfort, specialty meats such as speck, Italian soppressata or Spanish Serrano offer that little extra for food-curious shoppers. Don’t be scared of talking up the origin and history of these age-old ingredients!
ET LE SANDWICH FRANCAIS?
Now here’s for some hands-on inspiration! Italians have their panino, Levantine folks their pitas, and the French have … le sandwich. If you’ve spent but a few days in France, you’ve no doubt wandered into a classic French boulangerie, only to see dozens of crispy half baguettes filled to the brim with delicious meats and cheeses.
We’ve taken three classic French sandwiches – le Jambon Beurre, le Vegetarien, and Le Lyonnais and given them a little twist.
The true classic! Typically made with sweet butter and jambon blanc (ham) on a crispy baguette, this beloved sandwich is also nicknamed “Le Parisien”, since the ham it contains is prepared following the Parisian style. One can’t tinker with such a monument – we simply used Italian ham and butter, and subbed the top layer of butter for an equally rich brie for an extra luxurious sandwich.
Lyon is known as the food capital of France, and the point of origin of the most famous French salami: Rosette de Lyon. Typically shingled in a crispy baguette alongside a slick of butter, we’ve added some richness, tang & freshness to the mix with a sweet and savory fig jam, creamy Fromager d’Affinois, and peppery arugula. A firm and nutty Comté would be a great alternative to d’Affinois!
A sky-high vegetarian sandwich that’s sings of the sunny south of France! Tucked in this generous sandwich, you’ll find: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Dill, Mesclun Salad, Chopped Nicoise Olives, fresh radishes and carrots, Baby Grilled Artichokes, Montchevre Goat Cheese, & Ratatouille-style Caponata. Whew. A mouthful for sure, but a delicious one.
Are you creating unique sandwiches with our ingredients? Tag us on Instagram with @muscofood to spread the love!