Happy wrapping

23 February, 2007
Discovery Foods' Bob Tinsley offers bakers advice on how to make the most of consumers' fondness for wraps
Page 19 
In the last couple of years, wraps have really taken off, and you only need to look in the food sections of high street shops or garages to see how popular they're proving with consumers as a convenient, tasty snack. From busy mums preparing school lunchboxes to late night kebab fans, following an evening in the pub, it seems the tortilla wrap is fast becoming the new sandwich.
Recent independent research by TNS found that 68 million fajita wraps will be consumed in the UK over the next 12 months, and are most likely to be popular with 20- and 30-year-olds.A GUIDE TO WRAPPINGThere are two approaches for anyone in the baking industry looking to sell wraps: either go for the New York deli-style set-up, where customers decide what filling they want and the wraps are made up in front of them to order, or prepare them in advance, in the same way that supermarkets do.Discovery Foods has recently launched a guide for consumers on how to make wraps, and the most popular version, The Classic, is made as follows: cover a round wrap with, for example, houmous and roasted pepper or plum sauce and Hoisin duck; fold in from both sides, and then fold up from the bottom. Roll over from the bottom twice, to make a 'parcel', press down to seal, cut in half with a sharp knife and serve.Another style that works well is The Commuter, named because it's ideal for busy people on the go and, unlike a sandwich, the filling doesn't end up in your lap. Simply place the filling on the wrap, and fold up once from the bottom. Then fold over the left and keep rolling until you have an upright 'cylinder', which you can eat with one hand and ride the Tube with the other.EXOTIC INGREDIENTS Customers expect wrap fillings to be anything but traditional, so something such as Cajun Chicken or Hoisin Duck offers a slightly more exotic ingredient, compared to the traditional British sandwich. In many ways it offers a food fusion where East meets West. Wraps are also great for sweet fillings, such as strawberries and cream during Wimbledon - a great a summer snack.Sandwich wraps have been with us in the UK for over a decade. In fact, it was Discovery founder and chairman James Beaton, who spotted them in San Francisco and first introduced them into the UK in the mid-'90s. To start with, even sandwich giant Marks & Spencer didn't understand the concept, but within six months, Discovery Foods was selling half a million wraps a week.Reports of the death of the sandwich have been greatly exaggerated, and there will always be a place for it in the nation's lunchboxes. But if Britain follows the rest of the world, wraps will continue to increase in popularity. n



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