British Sandwich Week is a week-long celebration of the greatest food on to go and quite possibly the most iconic British culinary invention, the Sandwich.
For our clients in London and parts of Surrey, we are delighted to be able to supply business catering. This includes Sandwich Platters, Working Lunch Menus, Breakfasts and Event Catering. Find out more about this service by CLICKING HERE
The great British sandwich is such a central item in our psyche and culture that we have more different names for it than Eskimos do for snow! From Sarnies, butties and barms to baps, baguettes and sangas, everywhere you go there’s a local term for this icon.
Ever since John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich ordered cold beef between slices of toast, to avoid getting up from his cards game, his name has become synonymous with the delectable dish.
Of course, meat and bread were staples long before he tucked into on while playing cards, but he gave rise to the concept of having one as a convenient meal while getting on with other things!
The British Sandwich Association defines a sandwich as: Any form of bread with a filling, generally assembled cold - to include traditional wedge sandwiches, as well as filled rolls, baguettes, pitta, bloomers, wraps, bagels and the like, but not burgers and other products assembled and consumed hot. Hot eating sandwiches are also included.
Wraps account for about 5% of all sandwich sales in major retailers. The big new thing with wraps has been the hot wrap, with a number of new products being launched recently. They really do taste great hot!
Panini sandwiches are also gaining in popularity – last year their sales rose by 14% in major retailers, although they still only account for around 2% of sandwich sales.
Baguettes are also popular accounting for around 10% of commercially made sandwiches.
How many Sandwiches do we eat?
British consumers manage to munch their way through over 11.5 billion sandwiches each year. If you laid each one end to end, they would go around the world about 44 times. More than half of these were made and eaten in the home.
More sandwiches are consumed in hot weather than when it is wet or cold.
Well over 3,500,000,000 sandwiches are purchased from UK retail or catering outlets each year.
We paid over £7,250,000,000 for them – that’s as much as 36,409 brand new Ferraris.
Britain’s biggest sandwich retailer by £value in the UK is the American franchise chain Subway which has shot ahead of the UK’s biggest retailers, including Tesco, Greggs and Marks & Spencers, in the sandwich stakes in the value of the sandwiches they sell. However, Tesco outsells them in the numbers of sandwiches sold by several million.
In the UK there are over 300,000 people employed in the sandwich industry.
The first ‘packaged’ sandwich is believed to have been launched by Marks & Spencer in 1985 thanks to the creation of a ‘easy seal’ pack by Hans Blokmann, the then technical director of packaging supplier Danisco Otto Nielsen.
Chicken remains the most popular filling in commercially made sandwiches accounting for around 31% of all sandwiches.
Britons eat some 43,000 tonnes of chicken in sandwiches each year. That’s the same weight as 258 Blue Whales or 6,006 double decker buses.
However, chicken is gradually losing its dominance, with both egg and ham sandwiches gaining in popularity in the last year. The following are the estimated volumes (in tonnes) of key ingredients used by the commercial sandwich market each year:
- Chicken 43,000
- Cheese 16,000
- Ham 15,000
- Egg 14,000
- Bacon 7,000
- Prawns 6,250
- Tuna 6,250
- Salmon 3,000
- Beef 2,750
- Sausages 250