39% of UK adults now rely on Food-to-go meals and snacks skipping traditional mealtimes as their busy lifestyles make it increasingly difficult to cook from scratch at home.
While convenience is still number one, consumers want variety in terms of food and menus as no one wants to pay more for a meal they could easily make at home if they had the time. Novelty items such as street food or fusion food are seen as engaging and intriguing. There is a significant trend for ethnic street food as WARC (2013) reports an increased presence and interest in Asian brands, especially in food markets.
So how do we capitalise on these changes in customer behaviour and ethnic trends, easy; create a range of sandwich fillings that satisfy our food-to-go market and incorporate exotic flavours.
Keeping an eye on value and focus on traditional, low cost recipes to start; Jerk chicken, Moroccan chicken and the nation’s favourite chicken curry; Korean barbeque using kimchi and kalbi as a way to literally spice up sandwiches and add variety through the choice of carriers. Flat breads are becoming increasingly popular with over 33% of customers turning to this healthier option Mintel (2012). There is another trend in our multicultural society of brioche style carriers for burgers, red meats and Mediterranean cured hams. All of which deliver a touch of the exotic, variety at an acceptable price – allowing you to generate good margins.
Variety piques the interest of many types of consumers. Sandwiches are often seen as boring and overpriced. Creative products will make up for the backlash of “pricey” gourmet foods.
Even though vegetarians only make up 2% of our society they spend an estimated £949m on meat and fish free food, additionally meat-eaters also enjoy the occasional veggie treat (source Vegetarian Society UK 2012). So as more and more consumers turn to healthier options consider your humble hummus, Swiss and French cheeses not forgetting some lovely leaves to finish the filling with Mintel 2012 reporting that three in five UK adults eat meat free food regularly. Additionally, consumers seem to find meat free food as a culinary experience on its own and promoting as a limited time offer doubles your sales.
The really great news is that we can be as inventive and creative with our sandwich fillings as we want, push those boundaries because even if we get it wrong today our waste is minimal.