Bread winners

Sandwiches still the lunch of choice for Scottish shoppers

DESPITE the popularity of low-carb diets and the rise of food allergies and intolerances – especially to gluten and wheat – consumers across Scotland, England and Wales are 30 times more likely to choose a sandwich than a salad when eating out of home, according to analysis by food-to-go packaging manufacturer Planglow.

Independent Sandwich Range
The new Independent range from Costcutter includes 17 variants, from the staple Ham and Cheese sandwich and a deep fill BLT to wraps including Southern Fried Chicken and Chicken and Stuffing sub rolls.

“Among Scots, pre-made deep-fill wedges were their lunch of choice with one in five (20%) products sold packaging a deep-fill item,” said Stephen Ferguson, account manager for Planglow across Scotland. “One in 10 items sold were for longer life sandwiches making Scots the biggest consumers of products with a longer shelf life.”

However, he warned that consumers are becoming increasingly discerning, preferring sandwiches and wraps ‘made to order’ rather than the longer-life variety typically found on c-store shelves.

 ohn Want, head of marketing at Urban Eat, reckons retailers need to offer better packaged sandwiches if they want to compete with cafes and delis for food-to-go shoppers.

“We believe that many convenience retailers undervalue good quality sandwiches and are consequently losing shoppers,” he said. “For every 99p sandwich sold, there are probably two or three lost sales from consumers looking for something better. If you look at a typical meal deal, you will have a drink from the leading brand Coke, crisps from the leading brand Walkers and a sandwich from a local producer.

The Legends range of branded sandwiches offered by Urban Eat
The Legends range of branded sandwiches offered by Urban Eat

“We believe a well-supported sandwich brand on shelf can drive serious growth for the retailer in food to go. We’re proud to say that we have uplifted sales in every single store where we’ve replaced another brand or local producer. Research shows that brands provide trust in the convenience sector and in food to go, quality and trust are more important to the consumer than price.

“Core ranging is important. The average convenience store has only 14 sandwich varieties on shelf and there’s no need for any more, take a core range and add three or four additional products that provide choice, be they seasonal or monthly specials, or regularly cycling options.”

Urban Eat’s own Legends range includes 10 of its top-selling sandwiches, while its Summer range uses beach hut packaging intended to draw consumers to the fixture and persuade them to buy higher-priced items.

Independent, the brand owned by Costcutter Supermarkets Group, has launched a new range of pre-packed sandwiches.

The range, including standard sandwiches, deep fill sandwiches, wraps and sub rolls, has 17 different variants. A meal deal is also available, with shoppers buying a sandwich and drink getting a free bag of Independent Specialist crisps.

Jenny Wilson, marketing director for Costcutter, said: “The lunchtime market is a key trading point for retailers with the UK sandwich market worth £6.5bn.

“This new range of Independent sandwiches and wraps is part of our continued focus on delivering a quality fresh offer, giving our retailers a quality product range with which to take advantage of this growing category and offer great value to their customers.”

More and more convenience retailers who recognise the importance of food-to-go are seizing the opportunity of a franchise, according to Subway.

Over 30 of Subway’s Scottish stores are now located in non-traditional locations through partnerships with c-store and petrol forecourt operators including Spar stores with CJ Lang and independent operators, the Smartways Group, Costcutter and Hursts.

A spokesperson said: “Partnering with the Subway brand provides several benefits for retailers, including excellent dual branding opportunities, high rental returns and increased customer market share.”