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US Sandwiches, Subs and Wraps market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Sandwiches, Subs and Wraps market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Definition

This Report examines consumer attitudes and dining behavior, market, menu, and culinary trends in sandwich, sub, and wrap shops in the LSR segment. LSRs include both fast food (QSR) and fast casual restaurants, and only LSRs are covered in this Report. However, due to the cross-segment nature of sandwiches, many of the insights regarding LSR sandwiches are also applicable to FSRs (full service restaurants).

This Report focuses on both sandwich-specific chains (eg Subway, Arby’s, Quiznos, etc) as well as bakery café restaurants (eg Panera Bread) due to the fact that bakery café restaurants often feature a large sandwich menu.

This Report excludes any analysis on burgers. For information on the burger market please look to Mintel’s The State of the Burger – US, April 2016 Report.

This Report builds off of Mintel’s Sandwiches, Subs, and Wrap Concepts – US, October 2015 Report.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Caleb Bryant, a leading analyst in the Foodservice sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The state of the LSR (limited service restaurant) sandwich market reflects major trends in the LSR industry as a whole. QSR (quick service restaurant) giants such as Subway command the greatest share of sales but are slowly losing business to rapidly growing fast casual concepts. As consumers turn to more premium sandwich options, QSRs struggle to attract lapsed fast casual consumers and retain core value-oriented consumers. Sandwich restaurant menus also demonstrate the industry trend of ditching artificial ingredients in favor of natural and adding menu items that feature international flavors. Caleb Bryant
Senior Foodservice Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • QSR sandwich chains have low customer loyalty
            • Figure 1: Sandwich chain NPS, among chain visitors, July 2016
          • Food prices are hurting the restaurant industry
            • Figure 2: Total US retail sales and forecast of refrigerated sliced lunch meat and deli-counter lunch meat, by segment at current prices, 2011-21
          • The opportunities
            • Consumers want premium sandwiches
              • Figure 3: Sandwich statement agreement, any agree, July 2016
            • Appeal to an international palate
              • Figure 4: Sandwich type interest, July 2016
            • Focus on the meats and breads
              • Figure 5: Important factors at sandwich restaurants, July 2016
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Consumers are choosing deli-counter meats
                • Sandwiches in a gluten-free world
                  • Keep an eye on iGens
                    • What isn’t in the food
                    • Market Perspective

                      • Are bowls the next sandwich?
                        • Retail prices are depressing the foodservice industry; consumers are choosing fresh deli meat
                            • Figure 6: Total US retail sales and forecast of refrigerated sliced lunch meat and deli-counter lunch meat, by segment at current prices, 2011-21
                        • Market Factors

                          • Consumers continue to go gluten-free
                            • Figure 7: Consumption of gluten-free foods, 2013-16
                          • Move over Millennials
                            • Figure 8: US population by generation, 2011-21
                          • Snacking is a frequent occasion
                            • Figure 9: Daily snacking frequency, January 2015
                          • Keep it clean
                            • Figure 10: Food statement agreement, any agree, I prefer to eat foods without artificial ingredients, winter 2013-16
                            • Figure 11: Subway email, “Say Yes to No” sent on Aug. 9, 2016
                            • Figure 12: Panera Bread email, “A Wondrous World Awaits” sent on Aug. 9, 2016
                        • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                          • Fast casual sandwich chains are growing, but QSRs hold their own
                            • The future of Subway is unclear
                              • International sandwiches can shine on menus
                                • Meat now, veggies later
                                • What’s Working?

                                  • Fast casual chains are driving sandwich growth
                                    • Fast casual sandwich restaurants to watch
                                      • QSR chains find their voice
                                        • The breakfast business
                                        • What’s Struggling?

                                          • Case study: Subway
                                            • Subway: A brief history
                                              • Subway faces challenges
                                                • Subway under construction
                                                • What’s Next?

                                                  • Snackable sandwiches
                                                    • Technology
                                                      • Counter-trends: Mighty meats versus delectable veggies
                                                        • Artisan cold cuts and cheesy steak
                                                          • Who needs meat?
                                                            • The continued proliferation of international
                                                            • MMI Analysis

                                                              • Sandwich growth is stagnant; a majority of sandwiches are offered at LSRs
                                                                • Figure 13: Growth of sandwiches on menus, all segments, Q2 2015-Q2 2016
                                                                • Figure 14: Share of sandwiches on menus, all segments, Q2 2016
                                                              • Going global
                                                                • Trending sandwich types
                                                                  • Figure 15: Top 10 sandwich types and change of incidence on menus, Q2 2015-Q2 2016
                                                                • Select sandwich ingredients
                                                                  • Bread
                                                                    • Figure 16: Top 10 sandwich breads and change of incidence on menus, Q2 2015-Q2 2016
                                                                  • Cheese
                                                                    • Figure 17: Top 10 sandwich cheeses and change of incidence on menus, Q2 2015-Q2 2016
                                                                  • Ingredient claims
                                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                    • Consumers are visiting a variety of sandwich restaurants
                                                                      • Menu protein-packed sandwiches
                                                                        • Millennials are open to international flavors
                                                                          • Freshness appeals to the senses
                                                                            • Focus on the meat and bread
                                                                              • Give customers a premium sandwich option
                                                                              • Sandwich Shop Visitation

                                                                                • Subway leads the way in terms of visitation
                                                                                  • Figure 18: Sandwich chain visitation in the past three months, July 2016
                                                                                  • Figure 19: Sandwich chain visitation in the past three months, by those who have visited one sandwich chain, July 2016
                                                                                • Consumers are split between chain loyalists and switchers
                                                                                  • Figure 20: Repertoire analysis, sandwich shop visitation, July 2016
                                                                                  • Figure 21: Repertoire analysis, sandwich shop visitation, July 2016
                                                                                • Men are visiting fast casuals more than women
                                                                                  • Figure 22: Sandwich chain visitation in the past three months, by gender, July 2016
                                                                                • Millennials are key fast casual consumers
                                                                                  • Figure 23: Sandwich chain visitation in the past three months, by generation, July 2016
                                                                                • Hispanics visit a variety of different sandwich chains
                                                                                  • Figure 24: Sandwich chain visitation in the past three months, by Hispanic origin, July 2016
                                                                                • Sandwich chains must cater to parents
                                                                                  • Figure 25: Sandwich chain visitation in the past three months, by parents of child(ren) under 18, July 2016
                                                                              • Sandwich Chain Net Promoter Scores

                                                                                • NPS overview
                                                                                  • Fast casuals garner high NPS
                                                                                    • Figure 26: Sandwich chain NPS, among chain visitors, July 2016
                                                                                    • Figure 27: Sandwich chain NPS, among chain visitors, score breakout, July 2016
                                                                                  • NPS deep dive: Subway
                                                                                    • Figure 28: Net Promotor Score by select demographics, among chain visitors, Subway, July 2016
                                                                                  • NPS deep dive: Arby’s
                                                                                    • Figure 29: Net Promotor Score by select demographics, among chain visitors, Arby’s, July 2016
                                                                                  • NPS deep dive: Panera Bread
                                                                                    • Figure 30: Net Promotor Score by select demographics, among chain visitors, Panera Bread, July 2016
                                                                                • Sandwich Type Interest

                                                                                  • Consumers are interested in meat-heavy sandwiches
                                                                                    • Figure 31: Sandwich type interest, July 2016
                                                                                  • Women are target market for vegetarian sandwiches
                                                                                    • Figure 32: Sandwich type interest, by gender, July 2016
                                                                                    • Figure 33: Sandwich type interest, breakfast and vegetarian, by gender and age, July 2016
                                                                                  • Millennials drive interest in international sandwiches
                                                                                    • Figure 34: Sandwich type interest, by generation, July 2016
                                                                                    • Figure 35: Sandwich type interest, by age and income, July 2016
                                                                                  • Test international concepts in urban areas
                                                                                    • Figure 36: Sandwich type interest, by area, July 2016
                                                                                • Sandwich TURF Analysis

                                                                                  • Methodology
                                                                                    • A varied sandwich selection reaches a majority of consumers
                                                                                      • Figure 37: TURF analysis, sandwich type interest, July 2016
                                                                                  • The Definition of Fresh

                                                                                    • Freshness should be sensory
                                                                                        • Figure 38: Definition of fresh at sandwich restaurants, July 2016
                                                                                      • In their own words: Freshness indicators
                                                                                        • Freshness indicators appeal to women
                                                                                          • Figure 39: Definition of fresh at sandwich restaurants, by gender, July 2016
                                                                                          • Figure 40: Definition of fresh at sandwich restaurants, by gender and age, July 2016
                                                                                        • Marketing freshness to iGen/Millennials
                                                                                          • Figure 41: Definition of fresh at sandwich restaurants, by generation, July 2016
                                                                                      • Important Sandwich Restaurant Factors

                                                                                        • A sandwich restaurant needs great meat and bread
                                                                                          • Figure 42: Important factors at sandwich restaurants, July 2016
                                                                                        • In their own words: The importance of meat
                                                                                          • Veggies for women and meats for men
                                                                                            • Figure 43: Important factors at sandwich restaurants, any rank, by gender, July 2016
                                                                                          • A potential white space in sandwich condiments
                                                                                            • Figure 44: Important factors at sandwich restaurants, any rank, by generation, July 2016
                                                                                            • Figure 45: Important factors at sandwich restaurants, any rank, by income, July 2016
                                                                                          • Factor importance among chain visitors
                                                                                            • Figure 46: Important factors at sandwich restaurants, any rank, by chain visitation, July 2016
                                                                                        • Sandwich Areas of Opportunity

                                                                                          • Consumers want a more premium sandwich
                                                                                              • Figure 47: Sandwich statement agreement, any agree, July 2016
                                                                                            • Premium items appeal to both genders
                                                                                              • Figure 48: Sandwich statement agreement, any agree, by gender, July 2016
                                                                                            • iGen/Millennials drive interest in delivery and international flavors
                                                                                              • Figure 49: Sandwich statement agreement, any agree, by generation, July 2016
                                                                                            • Appealing to the Hispanic consumer
                                                                                              • Figure 50: Sandwich statement agreement, any agree, by Hispanic origin, July 2016
                                                                                            • Opportunity exists in urban areas
                                                                                              • Figure 51: Sandwich statement agreement, any agree, area, July 2016
                                                                                          • CHAID Analysis – Sandwiches as a Snack

                                                                                            • Methodology
                                                                                              • Targeting those who want snackable sandwiches
                                                                                                • Figure 52: Sandwich statement agreement – CHAID – Tree output, August 2016
                                                                                            • Qualitative Analysis – Sandwich Deals

                                                                                              • Understanding the deals consumers want
                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                • Data sources
                                                                                                  • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                    • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                      • Nation’s Restaurant News
                                                                                                        • Mintel Menu Insights
                                                                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                                                                            • Terms
                                                                                                            • Appendix – Consumer

                                                                                                                • Figure 53: Food statement agreement, any agree, I prefer to eat foods without artificial ingredients, winter 2013-16
                                                                                                            • Appendix – TURF Analysis

                                                                                                                • Figure 54: Table – TURF Analysis – Sandwich type interest, August 2016
                                                                                                            • Appendix – CHAID Analysis

                                                                                                                • Figure 55: Sandwich statement agreement, any agree, July 2016