Which ‘Wich?

Which ‘Wich?

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Growing demand among today’s consumers for sustainable, nutritious, personalized and traceable food has sharpened the focus on the ingredients and condiments that are an intrinsic part of our favorite legendary, lunchtime meal. In an era of fast-changing fillings, we asked the global trend forecasters for their insight into the future of the sandwich industry.

Sandwich consumption is on the rise, with sales having tripled in 15 years to EUR 8.25 billion. The snacking sector has exploded in the last 15 years, mainly due to the fast pace of modern life. Ten years ago, eating quickly was synonymous with junk food. However, in the last few years, we’ve observed a general premiumization of the sandwich industry, to the point that it’s no longer considered junk food; today, you can order a sandwich at a fine-dining restaurant. With consumers demanding greater quality and novelty, players will be forced to widen their portfolio of premium products to offer exotic specialties, such as tacos, croque-monsieur, bagels, sushi, onigiri, falafels, kalamaki pitas and English muffin sandwiches. Escalation in the ‘NO’ (gluten, lactose, meat) will prevail and, by next year, the ‘NO low unhealthy quality’ will dominate the industry. Demand for premium ingredients, including locally produced, homemade, healthy gourmet, preferably vegan products will dominate the sandwich offering. With cuisine becoming more global, cultural influences will make major inroads, influencing the sandwich industry. In 2019, ingenious products, such as professional sauces inspired by other cultures, will add an original twist to classics. The Middle-East will continue to influence the sandwich industry with its specialties. Hummus will continue to be the ‘it’ ingredient as it is vegan and can easily be incorporated in sandwiches.

SANDWICH TRENDS TO KEEP IN MIND

• Prioritization of premium products and exotic specialties.
• The ‘NO low unhealthy quality’ will dominate the sandwich industry. Demand for premium ingredients, including locally produced, homemade, healthy gourmet, preferably vegan products, will dominate the sandwich offering.
• Ingenious products, such as professional sauces inspired by other cultures, will add an original twist to classic sandwiches.
• The Middle East will continue to influence the sandwich industry, through specialties such as hummus.
• Increase in healthy bread alternatives, such as rye bread and sourdough bread.
• The use of veggies, plant-based charcuterie, vegetable-centric sandwich ingredients and vegan products will be more prominent in 2019.
• Gourmet meat, offered in a traditional, high-quality way, will be in greater demand.
• The impact of oriental cuisine will always trend, as will the ‘croque and toast concepts.

Sylvie Gaudy

Director | Sandwich & Snack Show

Eric de Wagenaere

President, Leaders Club International + Belgium

Sandwich consumption depends mostly on the country and even the region, but on a global scale, I predict two particular trends:
The demand for healthy products will continue to rise and we will increasingly feel its impact on the sandwich market, as well as the ingredients incorporated in it.

The use of healthy bread alternatives, such as rye bread and sourdough bread, will rise, and the use of veggies and vegan products will be more prominent in 2019. For example, in the Netherlands, there is a huge increase in avocado sandwiches.

In contrast, gourmet meat, offered in a traditional, high-quality way, will be in greater demand: pastrami in New York, crab in Moscow, meat in Prague and Budapest, minced meat and pickles in Flanders, and so on.
The impact of oriental cuisine will always trend, as will the ‘croque and toast concepts’ that are serving variations of the rustic, yet sophisticated culinary classics, such as croque-monsieur, and set to pop up everywhere in Europe.

Consumers are ready to explore regional nuances, including ingredients, spices and savoir-faire, and integrate them into their classic sandwiches. With wellness and taste being their prime concern, it has become a running theme in consumer food trends. Vegetable-centric sandwich ingredients, plant-based charcuterie and gourmet meat will dominate 2019.

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