Sandwiches are the key drivers of spend in the lunchtime food-on-the-go (FOTG) market, according to the latest data by Kantar Worldpanel, revealed at the recent Lunch! show.

Sandwiches, including carriers such as paninis, rolls, and bagels, currently have a 39% share of the lunchtime FOTG market (52 w/e 4 September 2011). Confectionery holds a 17% share, while savoury pastries have a 10% share, Kantar Worldpanel consumer insight director Jay Thaliwal, told visitors.

While the total FOTG market, worth £9.7bn, is currently growing at 5%, savoury pastries are growing at a slower rate of 4%, and are losing market share. Confectionery is growing at 6%, while sandwiches are growing at 5%. Despite the fact fewer shoppers are buying sandwiches, those that do are buying more, said Thaliwal.

Looking specifically at the lunchtime sandwich market worth circa £3.9bn and rising by £195.5m year-on-year he said the data showed coffee shops/cafés had achieved the highest gains, with spend up 15%. The ’eating venues’ category which includes the likes of Greggs, Subway, Pret, Upper Crust, and other high street bakery outlets saw spend rise by 6%. However ’eating venues’ held a much higher spend share of the market, at around 31%, while coffee shops/cafés had approximately a 13% share.

Kantar said that while coffee shops remained the most expensive option, their prices have remained flat, which has helped to retain customers. In terms of where the growth in the sandwich market was coming from, Thaliwal said that London remained the largest market, with a 22% share, and had achieved year-on-year spend growth of 9%. Other growth regions were Scotland up 9%, with a 9% share; and Lancashire up 8%, with a 12% share.