sandwich close up

To mark British Sandwich Week, 17-23 May, we have identified some issues relevant to the celebration which may be found in the Archive.

In 1996, the TNS AGB report on Trends in Food Consumption pointed to the decline in cooked breakfasts, the traditional teatime and other formal meal occasions, and said it was the result of the rising ‘Sandwich Culture’ of snack meals.

This prompted TNSofres in 1999 to launch ‘Sandwich Track’, a continuous survey of UK sandwich consumption, but we are not sure how long it continued into the future.

The MORI Poll Digest for September 1992 reported on a survey for Compass, the contract catering company, which found that British workers spend less time and money on their lunches than their European colleagues, and this again was probably attributed to our ‘Sandwich Culture’. But Mintel found that sandwiches were not among the top UK snack choices, coming after fresh fruit, biscuits and crisps (possibly because they are seen as a meal rather than merely a snack).

In December 1989, MORI’s British Public Opinion reported on a survey in which people were asked what information they looked for when shopping for food which comes in packages. The answers were the ‘Sell-by’ date (80%), the ‘Best Before’ date (78%), the manufacturer’s name (38%), the list of ingredients (28%, but surely not for sandwiches), and nutrition information (23%). Asked which kind of outlet such food is safer to buy in, 60% said a large supermarket, and 11% a small local shop, though 22% said both equally.

Finally, the Archive reveals the relevance of sandwiches to researchers’ educational seminars: on one such occasion in 1988, discussing how to define good qualitative research, Sue Robson recalled the words of Doug Richardson, senior planner at J. Walter Thompson.  He said it was ‘like a good bacon sandwich – you know when you have eaten it, but how can you define it?’


The Archive of Market and Social Research contains a wide range of valuable material, and it’s free to access. Follow this link to go directly to the Archive’s home page.

Post added May 21st, 2020


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