Hamburgers, wraps, paninis and all other sorts of sandwiches are a mainstay of the American diet — and research shows light and healthy sandwich choices are gaining momentum in the market.
According to reports from The NPD Group, a market research firm based in Port Washington, N.Y., healthful sandwiches are one of a few groups of food expected to grow strongly during the next decade. During 2012, 3.5 million healthful/light sandwiches were served. By 2022, that number is expected to increase to 3.8 million, a 7 percent rise.
The grilled chicken sandwich, which makes up about 40 percent of the healthful sandwich market, takes the No. 1 spot in popularity. Turkey and turkey club sandwiches follow that closely with 35 percent. Next is tuna, with 9 percent; chicken salad, 8 percent; vegetable sandwiches, 7 percent, and grilled fish sandwiches, 1 percent.
The challenge for the food service arena is to come up with flavorful and creative ways to offer healthy options between two slices of bread — and maybe even more healthy and flavorful bread choices. Based on NPD’s findings, now may be the time to experiment with bold flavor combinations, extra spices and ethnically-influenced offerings given that the future of healthful sandwiches is looking so good. And the trend is already on its way. In 2006, the per capita servings of healthful/light sandwiches was 10.7, according to NPD data, and had grown to 11.3 by 2012.
Consumers, becoming more open minded to change, are now more willing to try items like fish tacos, that they didn’t venture toward just three or four years ago. Several restaurant chains are tapping in, by including their own styles of healthy sandwiches in their line ups. Subway, which has been promoting healthy eating in general for years, has created its own Fresh Fit line of low-fat sandwiches. The chain’s healthy food platform now makes up almost half of its menu, excluding breakfast.
It’s time to get in the kitchen, create and plan. And if you don’t have the time, call us. We’ll be glad to give you a hand.