New research shows a lack of diversity in the sandwich market
New research notes a lack of plant-based options of this popular lunch time food and makes clear the health and environmental impact.
The research, published by the Eating Better Alliance, surveyed 620 sandwiches and showed that while some retailers, particularly Tesco and Pret, have made progress in terms of diversifying their sandwich ranges to include more plant-based options, the sheer volume of meat-based sandwiches is a big concern. In fact, only 9% of sandwiches have plants as their main ingredient.
“The good news is that some retailers are responding to consumer demand for more plant-based options, ” said Simon Billing, Executive Director of Eating Better. “But given the urgency of our climate and biodiversity crisis they need to double down on their efforts to support options that are better for the environment.”
The research continued that 33% of meat sandwiches contained meat of unknown origin. This includes all of the meat sandwiches at Boots and Subway, and the vast majority at EAT. The research found only two sandwiches carried any better meat certification which consumers could find helpful when making their selection.
“Sandwiches and ready meals make up a significant part of our diet, ” added Anna Taylor OBE, Executive Director of Food Foundation. “Only 14% of ready meals and 30% of sandwiches are meat and fish free. Replacing meat with veg is a critical part of our journey to eating better and living longer, but the supermarkets and manufacturers are not yet doing enough to help us make that journey.”
Last year consumers in Britain bought 4 billion ready-made sandwiches at a cost of £8 billion and 76% of consumers buy lunch to eat out of home for an everyday occasion. Meanwhile, 48% of people in the UK are willing or already committed to cutting down or cutting out meat. Movement by retailers, says Eating Better, to support these consumers when shopping in this important category would have the potential for a big health, environment and animal welfare impact.