British Sandwich Week

May 17, 2024 | 0 comments


Did you know we have a British Sandwich week? Now in its 29th year, the annual event, held in May, is a showcase for the UK’s sandwich and food-to-go sector. there is even a trade body for sandwiches.

An egg mayonnaise sandwich, on white bread. The sandwich is on a white plate.

The sandwich was invented in England when so the story goes, in 1762, John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, invented the meal that changed dining forever. The Earl was playing cards and did not want to leave the gaming table to eat. He asked for a serving of roast beef to be placed between two slices of bread so he could eat with his hands. People all over the world have been eating hand held food ‘sandwiched’ between slices of bread of various kinds ever since.

The British Sandwich & Food to Go Association is a trade body established in 1990 to represent the interests of all those businesses involved and the food on the move industry. Members range from supermarkets and Food to Go manufacturers to sandwich bars, cafes and the suppliers of ingredients and equipment for the industry. As well as representing the interests of members to Government, the Association sets industry standards, as well as organising events such as British Sandwich Week and the annual The Sandwich & Food to Go Awards, also known as ‘The Sammies’.

In the competition for the UK’s favourite sandwich, chicken reigns supreme over cheese, bacon and ham

The humble sandwich, the go-to lunch for millions of people across the UK and beyond, is having its well-deserved week in the sun. British Sandwich Week which begins this week (Thursday 16th to Wednesday 22nd of May) and is a celebration of one of the most popular and delicious staples.

So, do you go classic with a ploughman’s or something more out there with an egg salad – or maybe you like a more modern option such as duck and hoisin? Well, it turns out that chicken is at the top of the list for Brits when it comes to sarnie fillings.

Every year the British Sandwich & Food to Go Association holds its event, British Sandwich Week to honour the nation’s devotion to clubs, subs, wraps, rolls, baguettes, baps, bagels, toasties, pittas, paninis and all their accompanying fillings.

The go-to product for anyone looking out for a convenient, quick and wholesome meal on the go, sandwiches have come a long way from their humble beginnings.

The first ‘packaged’ sandwich is believed to have been launched by Marks & Spencer in 1985 thanks to the creation of an ‘easy seal’ pack by Hans Blokmann, the then technical director of packaging supplier Danisco Otto Nielsen.

Chicken remains the most popular filling in commercially made sandwiches accounting for around 31% of all sandwiches.

Britons eat some 43,000 tonnes of chicken in sandwiches each year. That’s the same weight as 258 Blue Whales or 6,006 double-decker busses!

The most loved traditional British sandwiches this year.

1. Chicken

There are many kinds of chicken sandwiches out there, but one that definitely reigns supreme more recently according to Brits is the coronation chicken sandwich. Loaded with herbs and spices and complemented further with a dollop of creamy mayonnaise, this sandwich filling is among those crowned the favourite this year.

Chicken and Sun Dried Tomato Sandwich Paste

2. Cheese

The popularity of cheese never lessens for our nation of sandwich lovers and maybe it’s down to being so much choice! Whether it’s cheddar, brie, feta, mozzarella, or goats – cheese comes in many delicious forms that Brits can’t get enough of. You can have it plain, with pickle, with sandwich meat or something fancier like hand-made pesto – cheese is a go- to option for lunchtime workers.

My daughters had 2 favourite sandwiches when we were doing school packed lunches. One was hummus and grated carrot, and the other cheese and grated carrot. They loved those!

No Power Plan sandwiches

3. Bacon

Bacon comes in third this year in the overall filling favourites but number one when it comes to breakfast sarnies – nothing can quite beat a hot and crispy bacon butty!. It’s also a filling that divides the nation when it comes to if you opt for red or brown sauce to make it the perfect early-morning staple.

You can even put bacon into the actual bread itself with this classic French loaf

Bacon, Olive and Cheese Loaf Cake

4. Ham

Another favourite of Brits is the traditional sandwich meat – ham. A favourite often with school children and adults when it comes to packed lunches. Ham can be found in many sandwich guises from ham salad to ham and mustard – and is often the number one filling of toasties or paninis.

5. Tuna

The first mention of fish in the top ten league table of sandwich fillings is tuna. Pretty much always blended with mayonnaise this favourite’s friends are often cucumber, sweetcorn or onion and pepper when it’s titled ‘tuna crunch’. Again, another go-to option when it comes to having a sandwich hot. Tuna is loved by millions.

I love this sardine sandwich filling

2 sandwiches, 2 toasty breakfasts and 2 pasta dinners from 1 tin of sardines. Just 83p for all 6 meals!!

6. Egg

Whether it’s just the traditional egg and cress with its creamy and flavoursome taste, and often featuring in various supermarkets’ meal deal offerings or something a little more out there like ham and egg – egg is still a strong favourite with the nation. Pair an egg sarnie with salt and vinegar crisps and you have a winner. It is also easy to replicate at home, can be rustled up in less than 15 minutes and uses cheap ingredients that won’t break the lunch budget.

7. Vegetarian

Finally, one for those that don’t eat meat – vegetarian sandwich options come in at number seven. Whether that’s a tomato and mozzarella wrap, hummus and falafel pitta or a peanut butter and jelly bagel – vegetarian options have crept up the league table this year.

Olive, Soft Cheese and Cucumber Sandwich


Egg, Lentil, Raisin, Puy & Curry Sandwich

8. Sausage

Whether you like your sandwich hot or cold – sausages are often a real favourite with us all. Coming second to bacon when it comes to breakfast baps – sausage is a British staple and one sandwich filling that never leaves the top ten. With some sandwich lovers shouting about getting more creative with their chipolatas by adding marmalade, it would seem sausages are getting fancy. However, the main sales of sausages are still the traditional breakfast sandwich – whether that’s on its own or mixed with bacon and egg. One sausage can in fact make 2 sandwiches if made into one of our sandwich pastes

9. Beef

If you don’t get enough beef with your Sunday roast, then it can be eaten in the week in the way of a sandwich. Whether your favourite is with horseradish, caramelised onions, and cheese or in the form of a meatball sub – beef is the meat behind many lunchtime picks. We have a paste for beef too, either using meat from a joint, or mince.

10. Vegan

Have you ever had a plant-based sandwich? If not, why not pick up one this British Sandwich Week – as there is an ever-growing amount to choose from? Whether it’s a ‘no tuna and sweetcorn’ or ‘vegan no cheese and chutney’ or even ‘Subway’s vegan sub’ there is normally now a whole shelf of options to get your taste buds going. Vegans everywhere can rejoice as more and more creations are coming to the market as their fillings enter the top ten!

Vegan bean and spicy katjan sauce sandwich paste, 12p a sandwich, LOADS of variations

The new research also found that regular sliced bread still topped the list with over half of the nation preferring this carrier (57.9%) followed by baguettes (13.1%) wraps (11.1%) subs (5.9%) paninis (4.3%) rolls (3%) ciabatta (1.7%) bagels (1.5%) and finally flatbread last with (0.9%)

According to the data, the north of the country is the keenest on sandwiches (23.1%) followed closely by the capital (22.5%), with the midlands being in the middle (15.9%)

However, Wales is the least interested in a sarnie with only (4.1%) of overall sales. So, do you agree? Does the chicken sandwich reign supreme?

You can vary your sandwich by using different kinds of bread, here are 4 to try at home

Weekend Baguette Recipe

Easy No-Knead Focaccia

Home Made Pitta Bread

Flatbreads, less than 2p each. Versatile and very yummy

You can even make your own beeswax bag to put your sandwich in

How To Make Beeswax Wraps & A Sandwich Bag for mere pence



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