As part of the British Sandwich Association’s annual industry awards, I have had the dubious honour of sampling some 45 new sandwiches and 40 new ingredients that have been launched into the market over the last 12 months.
After such a marathon session, I was not sure I wanted to see another sandwich for a day or two! But it is an interesting annual exercise, as the awards generally reveal some of the more innovative ideas currently being tried in the marketplace.
Over the last couple of years, however, the judges have been concerned about the way some sandwiches are becoming ’over-created’ - in that they involve increasingly complex combinations of ingredients, which may look good but sometimes fail to live up to taste expectations. While we all recognise the importance of innovation in keeping consumer interest, enthusiasm sometimes needs to be tempered by the principles of ’Will it sell?’
The reduction of salt in sandwiches over the last couple of years has also been noteworthy in the blandness of some products. While all the judges felt the standard of innovation was higher this year than last, the most striking factor in this year’s awards was how the independent sandwich bar sector is fighting back strongly against the tide of chain outlets in the high street, with more innovative sandwiches and an ’upmarket’ choice. Maybe there is a lesson here for the independent bakery sector.
The results of this year’s British Sandwich Industry Awards will be announced at the BSA Awards Dinner on 15 May.