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Last week was one of note for the UK food industry, as it was dedicated to the Sandwich! British Sandwich Week is a fair accolade, when you consider the UK sandwich market was worth £7.25bn in 2013 (+2% YOY) equating to 3.5bn sandwiches sold (+6%).

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We jumped on the sandwich bandwagon and were pleased to be shortlisted for the British Sandwich Association’s annual SAMMIE award in the new sandwich product category with our latest innovation in SunBlush®, a round sliced SunBlush® tomato. Sadly we were pipped to the post, but some of us were lucky enough to attend the finals of the Sandwich Designer of the Year competition where we got an interesting insight into the sandwich market and sampled some of the best sarnies the UK has to offer.

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One of our very own products, Roquito Chilli Pepper Pearls® was proudly part of a sandwich build in the Warbutons bread category. The Good Seoul was created by Andy Philips from Greggs and consisted of a Korean pulled pork filled Warburtons wrap – delicious! Another one of our favourites was winner Harry Turner of Harris & Hoole, triumphing with his BBQ chicken and bacon slaw wrap that combined bacon into the slaw, served with pulled chicken breast topped with tasty melted smoked Leerdammer cheese. The overall winner was Catherine Lear of EAT, in the Dell’ami Sandwich Pesto category, with her prosciutto and asparagus melt in grilled sourdough bread, oozing melted mozzarella and crisp asparagus spears.

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It wasn’t all sandwich tasting though, we were encouraged to hear an interesting and positive outlook from BSA Director Jim Winship. Surprisingly, sandwich bars make up the majority of the market share at 32% and supermarkets only equate to 10%. Also 70% of sandwiches sold are classed as ‘standard’ sandwiches, 11% are considered healthy, 6% premium and 2% value. The hospital sector has recently advised that a sandwich is the best way to provide patients with an overall balanced nutritional meal, so we should all look for an increase in healthier sandwich builds focussed on nutrition in the future. To give the industry a helping hand to drive footfall into a range of sandwich shops, the BSA also announced the launch of its new website and smartphone app www.lovesarnies.com, attracting new and existing by providing offers, information and giveaways at member outlets.

There’s absolutely no denying that the trusty sandwich is in growth and the innovation in terms of ingredients, sandwich concepts and media is driving the British sandwich industry into new, exciting and profitable arenas.

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