Facts and Figures Concerning the UK Sandwich Industry
The information below is from the British Sandwich Association, and you can visit their website by clicking here
- The British sandwich market bought ‘on the go’ is currently worth £2.8 billion
- In the last year 1.69 billion sandwiches were sold ‘on the go’, at an average price of £1.66
- Over 62% of the population buy a sandwich at least once a year
- Over 19.7% of sandwiches are bought in work (work canteens and staff shops etc)
- People in Yorkshire spend the most on sandwiches – an average of over £114 a year
- People in the South West spend the least – an average of £55 a year. This means they spend under half that of their northern counterparts
- The most expensive place to buy a sandwich is London - £1.83 versus a national average of £1.66
- Wraps account for 4% of total sandwich sales, baguettes for 10%
- One third of the market in value is accounted for by 25-34 year olds
- Over 30% of all sandwiches sold have chicken as a filling
- 70% of all sandwiches are eaten at home, totalling 6.2 billion occasions (down 3% on 2004)
- An average of 4.2 sandwiches are eaten at home, per person, every week in Britain
- 55% of sandwiches eaten at home are consumed at lunchtime. A further 13% are eaten at Tea, 11% at the Evening Meal and & 7% as part of a snack. Surprisingly 14% are eaten at Breakfast.
- With a further 2.67 billion sandwiches made for lunch boxes, this means UK consumers are currently consuming nearly 11 billion sandwiches per year.
The following information has been put together by The British Sandwich Association (BSA) as background data on the UK sandwich market. All the data given in this Fact File comes from the Association and either TNS’s SandwichTrak or Family Food Panel (in italics).
Commercial Sandwich Market
(Note: the surveys do not gather data from some sectors such as schools and healthcare)
• Approximately 1.8 billion sandwiches are purchased outside the home each year
• The commercial sandwich market is worth approximately £3.5 billion – by comparison the pizza market in the UK is worth around £1 billion.
The most popular sandwich fillings in the pre-prepared sandwich market are:
Fish (18%) (mostly tuna and prawns)
To put this into some perspective, the volumes of ingredients used are estimated by the Association to be as follows:
Chicken 20,550 tonnes
Fish 17,400 tonnes
Cheese 13,500 tonnes
Ham 11,100 tonnes
Bacon 8,700 tonnes
Eggs 6,000 tonnes
Sausages 2,600 tonnes
Where Sandwiches are Purchased
These days commercially made sandwiches are purchased in a huge variety of outlets, from supermarkets to off-licences. In broad terms, the market breaks down as follows:
15.7% Cafes/Sandwich bars
5.9% Convenience stores/corner shops
5% Petrol stations
6.5% High Street Department Stores
1.8% Motorway services
(Note: some sectors such as schools and healthcare are not picked up by the research)
What People Buy and Consume with their Sandwiches
As part of the BSA/TNS SandwichTrak programme, which interviewed 2000 consumers every month, it was found that there distinct differences between what people consumed with sandwiches in the home as opposed out outside. (% of all sandwiches consumed with..e.g. a drink).
Drink 89.3% 73.0%
- Hot 58.4% 33.9%
- Cold 35.9% 39.9%
Fruit 14.6% 2.4%
Cakes 11.2% 5.3%
Desserts 10.0% 2.3%
Crisps 7.6% 10.5%
Biscuits 5.9% 2.9%
biscuit bars 3.4% 2.1%
Salty snacks 2.5% 2.3%
Nuts 0.2% 0.1%
General Facts to Note:
• Men account for 55.7% of all sandwiches purchased outside the home
• Over 44.3% of all sandwich buyers are aged 24-44
• The UK sandwich industry now employs over 300,000 people
Made-at-home Sandwich Market
The data shows that the commercial sandwich market is dwarfed by the number of sandwiches we make in our homes each year, although the casual nature of sandwich making in the home makes it difficult to monitor. Nevertheless, it is estimated that around 58% of all sandwiches are consumed in the home.
It is also estimated that the lunchbox market (that’s sandwiches made at home but carried out to be consumed at work or school etc.) represent around 24.2% of all sandwiches and this market is estimated to be worth around £4.18 billion (based on an assumed average value of 99 pence per lunch box). Of these 73.8% contain a sandwich and 30.8% are taken out by children.
Around 58% of all sandwiches are consumed in the home.
The top fillings in the home made sandwich sector are somewhat different to those purchased outside the home, partly because of the casual nature of the market and partly because of the limited availability of ingredients in the home.
Top Home Sandwcih Fillings:
There are concerns among some nutritionalists about the nutritional quality of sandwiches taken out of the home by both adults and children in lunchboxes.
General Facts to Note about the At Home Sandwich Market:
• People making sandwiches at home generally turn to whatever ingredients they have in the fridge as there are strong indicators that lunch box purchases are not planned by many. As well as limiting choice, this has some food safety implications as use-by dates may not be up to sandwiches being made and then carried for some time in an unchilled lunch box. There are also concerns that it is difficult for consumers to balance the nutritional aspects of sandwiches made in the home as they do not necessarily have the means for assessing the salt, fat etc. levels.
• The temperature control factors relating to lunch boxes are generally a concern, particularly in summer months when sandwiches may be left on desks, in cars or in school satchels for several hours before being consumed. It is generally recommended that consumers should use a chilled box rather than a traditional tin box.
• There is a strong argument for retail outlets to focus more directly on the lunch box market as this will in turn encourage consumers to plan their purchases more carefully and think about what they are putting into sandwiches. At the moment you tend to find fillings scattered around stores in a very unplanned way.
• There are equally concerns that because consumers do not necessarily think of the nutritional aspects of lunch boxes, they may be influenced by ‘pester power’ to put in products that are not necessarily nutritionally balanced.