The perception of food is changing. More than ever, consumers want to find menu items that satisfy their cravings while simultaneously meeting their personal definitions of health.
Sandwiches are certainly no different. Consumers who are looking to cut calories may be on the search for sandwiches with healthier breads and even healthier fillings. Breads containing vegetables are on the rise, according to market intelligence agency Mintel. Brightly-colored veggies such as carrots, beetroots, and sweet potatoes not only add flavor but also visual appeal.
It’s not just the bread that can make a difference in the diet. Healthy plant-based products such as cauliflower and jackfruit are versatile in that they are packed with vitamins and minerals but still taste great. Jackfruit, in particular, is a trending inclusion. In Whole Foods’ recent Food Trends Report, jackfruit and other Pacific Rim flavors topped the list of emerging flavors in 2019.
Asian flavors are very apparent in sandwich trends. For the last few years, bao buns have seen an increase on menus in the United States. These soft, steamed buns first gained traction in China, where they are typically served in a savory fashion.
These buns pair well with sweet and savory fillings, such as the aforementioned jackfruit, pork belly, and kimchi. Consumers love items that are adventurous and tasty, and these sandwiches fulfill both of those desires.
While sandwiches can be healthy or exotic, sometimes U.S. consumers just want a little all-American comfort food. Grilled cheeses and PB&J’s will continue to be popular, and it’s those who can differentiate their versions that will stand out from the crowd. Panera Bread’s Four Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich was among several cheesy items introduced at the bakery-café chain in July. It features Fontina, sharp cheddar, Monteau, and smoked Gouda cheeses, all on Panera’s country rustic bread.
Last year, Birmingham, Alabama’s Cheezin was named by USA Today as the best place for grilled cheese in the state. The food truck has plenty of unique grilled cheese sandwiches, but perhaps its most daring (and sweet) creation is the Birthday Cake Melt. It places cream cheese, funfetti cake mix, and sprinkles in between two slices of brioche.
For an unconventional peanut butter and jelly sandwich, we turn to New York City. In July, Black Seed Bagels introduced its take on the classic. Teaming up with meat-centric restaurant Quality Eats, the bagel joint’s PB&J consisted of homemade peanut butter, a sweet-spicy jalapeño jam, Granny Smith apple slices, and a stack of crispy bacon, all on a delicious bagel.