The sandwich is the original portable meal and easily bought and consumed both at home and on-the-go. According to recent research from Chicago-based Technomic, 92% of consumers reported purchasing a sandwich away from home in the past two months.
The ongoing drive toward away-from-home convenience has propelled the development and growth of prepackaged sandwiches offered across a variety of retail and foodservice channels, from the cold case at Starbucks to the grab-and-go area of supermarkets to vending machines in institutions. At the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery (IDDBA) meeting in June, IDDBA’s deli team underscored the popularity of packaged sandwiches by creatively merchandising sub sandwiches in a wine rack.
To meet demand, co-packers, food manufacturers and bakeries are building up their prepackaged sandwich businesses. For example, Pan-O-Gold Baking Co., St. Cloud, Minn., offers co-packaging and contract packaging for packaged deli sandwiches, including custom designs.
Other companies continue to roll out new prepackaged sandwiches. Reflecting interest in bold, global flavors, Windsor, NY-based Café Spice introduced new naan sandwiches that are like Indian paninis, according to chef Hari Nayak. The sandwiches, available in varieties like Chicken Tikka and South Indian Potato, are sold fresh in a black 9-oz tray with brightly colored graphics.
Premium prepackaged sandwiches also appeal to discerning, yet on-the-go buyers. AdvancePierre Foods, Cincinnati, Ohio, has added three new varieties to its Pierre Signatures line of restaurant-style prepackaged sandwiches: Monterey Style Grilled Chicken, All Beef Jalapeno Cheeseburger and Barbecue Pork Rib. With a 14-day refrigerated shelf life, the individually wrapped sandwiches are packed in a case of 12. “Convenience and vending retailers and consumers have spoken – our Pierre Signatures line has answered their desires for fresh-looking, hand-crafted, restaurant-quality sandwiches,” remarks Tony Schroder, president of convenience channels.
Meanwhile, favorite sandwich combinations also reflect the times, like the twist on PB&J from Chelsea, Mass.-based Muffin Town. That company’s SunWise Peanut Free Crustless Sandwiches are made with sunflower seed spread with grape or strawberry jelly on white, soft whole grain bread and sold in individually wrapped 2.8-oz. packages.