Despite all the gloom of the recession, evidence suggests that sandwich sales are doing well, with sales up by some 3% in volume year-on-year.
Given the considerable drop in sandwich sales when the recession first bit in autumn 2008, such growth is remarkable, as it shows the industry has regained most of the ground it lost in those early months. Research also shows that the average price of a sandwich has risen and is now just over £2, and that perceived value for money remains important.
One of the biggest potential problems facing the industry is limited product innovation, partly due to increasing pressures for reformulations to meet government health targets. The big question is how far one can go in reducing salt and fat levels in foods before consumers start to reject them.
Another issue facing the retail sector is trialling calorie information on display in foodservice and retail outlets where sandwiches are made on-site. To date, these establishments have escaped much of the labelling requirements, but the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is pressing for outlets to display more information at point of choice.
While the FSA says this will remain voluntary, it is hoping peer pressure will force outlets to start providing this information. But there are still some big questions to be answered not least how businesses can accurately calculate the values without falling foul of Trading Standards legislation.
A consultation is now under way on the results of these trials which can be found at http://tinyurl.com/ycrvx56.