Jim Winship

Director, British Sandwich Association

One of best barometers of economic times is innovation. Naturally, when the going gets tough, we tend to think more about maintaining the business we have, rather than taking chances, and any innovative thinking is generally refocused on managing costs.

In the last couple of years, it has been noticeable how little innovation there has been in the UK sandwich industry quite a change for an industry that has a reputation for its creativity. In that time, we have seen relatively little true innovation, as most brands have sought to re-invent old and safe friends, rather than row the boat out into uncharted waters.

This year has shown some improvement on this situation, but it is still clear that there is not a great deal of confidence in the economy at the moment although the first shoots of recovery may be just beginning to show.

The good news is that innovation is still alive and kicking at least in the development kitchens. Entries for this year’s British Sandwich Designer of the Year award have been higher than ever, with some really bright ideas.

Although the sandwich industry has been relatively lucky in seeing volume growth through the last couple of years, perhaps it is time for easing the brakes a little more to tickle the taste-buds of those consumers who have got a little jaded by the same thing each day.

l The finals of this year’s Sandwich Designer of the Year Award are to be held on 19 May, at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London.