Chicken has retained its status as Britain’s most popular sandwich filling, according to a survey of multiple sandwich retailers issued by the British Sandwich Association.
But the report, which coincides with British Sandwich Week, found that the filling was losing ground to more traditional favourites such as cheese, egg and ham (see top 10 list below).
Although chicken accounts for approximately 33% of sandwiches bought out of the home, volume sales declined by 7% in the year to March 2011. By contrast, egg and ham sandwich sales grew by 11% and 9% respectively in the same period.
Despite excitement over new carriers such as wraps and paninis, the survey revealed that the traditional wedge remained the favoured format, representing 58% all commercially-made sandwiches.
Wraps regained some of their waning popularity last year with sales rising by 25%, partly due to the proliferation of hot wrap offers. However, their share of the total market is a mere 4% while paninis – which enjoyed a 14% surge in sales last year – represent just 2% of the overall market.
Hard times have prompted many consumers to start making their own lunchbox sandwiches at home, but the commercial market has still managed to grow by 2%. The survey revealed that many people found it a chore to make their own sandwiches and had soon reverted to buying them to take advantage of the greater choice on offer.
To encourage innovation during British Sandwich Week (which runs from 15 to 21 May), the British Sandwich Association is inviting consumers to vote for the best of 23 creative new recipes submitted by leading brands which include one sandwich without bread. The winning recipe will be announced at the end of June.
Top 10 Sandwich Fillings
1 Chicken (1)
2 Cheese (7)
3 Ham (12)
4 Egg (3)
5 Prawn (2)
6 Tuna (19)
7 Bacon (4)
8 Breakfast (13)
9 Combination (0)
10 Other meat (0)
(Numbers in brackets show last year’s ranking)
• Britons consume more than 11.5 billion sandwiches each year
• They buy more than three billion sandwiches from retail or catering outlets each year, spending around £6b to give an average sandwich price of £1.91.
• The UK sandwich industry employs more than 300,000 workers – more than the agricultural sector