Who needs a knife and fork? Everyone carries 10 of the best utensils with them all the time! From pizza, to ribs, to tacos, wings, food truck fare and more, handheld items are fast coming within easy grasp. And their variety and versatility are key.

They work across segments. Full service, limited service, fast-casual, coffee shops, catering, etc. They’re also perfect because they offer the ability for chefs to showcase their creativity. Finally, people love eating with their hands. It’s a sensory experience at its core, and all the senses are involved. No fork and knife can compete.

No surprise that the ubiquitous sandwich remains the king of the handheld meal. Especially popular with 18- to 34-year-old consumers, 50% of whom would like restaurants to offer more sandwiches with new or unique flavors, according to Technomic. Also consider that:

“About 15% of consumers purchased sandwiches at c-stores in the last 90 days.”

(Technomic, Sandwich CTR, 2019)

Grab ‘n’ go handheld options are becoming more popular as many consumers frequently seek quick options while they are on-the-go. More specifically, prepackaged options appeal to on-the-go millennials because most consumers are looking for speedy on-the-go alternatives. In fact, about 44% of consumers purchase pre-prepared sandwiches from convenience or retail locations.

(Technomic, Sandwich CTR, 2019)

What’s Trending in Sandwiches?

What’s the latest on the menu for sandwiches? Being a very versatile meal item allows sandwiches to evolve into many forms. As operators move away from strictly classic fare and turn up their creativity, a difference has become evident between younger and older consumers’ preferences. Consider:

* While convenience, taste and cravings are key sandwich purchase drivers, there is also perception among younger consumers that sandwiches are a healthy option, probably because more and more operators are creating sandwiches that include better-for-you ingredients. Therefore, adapting even more sandwiches to younger consumers’ health definitions could be an opportunity for increasing sales.

* The taste and quality of sandwiches are important across dayparts. Portability is more important at breakfast than at other dayparts, while the ability to customize is more important at dinner than at breakfast or lunch.

* Meats are usually seen as the most important sandwich component. However, more younger than older consumers prioritize bread, cheese, sauces and toppings. This suggests that younger consumers take a more holistic look at sandwiches.

* Younger consumers are driving demand for more unique and ethnic sandwiches, particularly those with Asian or Mexican influences, relating to their general interest in trying new flavors.
(Technomic, Sandwich CTR, 2019)

Smithfield Culinary can help you build exciting, handheld menus that stand out from the crowd. From insights and ideas, to recipes and an extensive portfolio of fresh and pre-cooked products, Smithfield Culinary everything you need to make your menu the choice worth customers’ getting their hands on.

For more information, contact your Smithfield Culinary representative, visit Smithfield CulinaryCulinary.com or call 888-327-6526.

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