New research reveals British are now avoiding sandwiches, which used to be a preferred lunch for centuries, and are instead reaching for wraps, salads and sushi to get them through the afternoon.
The survey of 1,133 British adults carried out by Spitalfields Market has revealed a growing demand for artisanal lunches. While bread-based options including wraps, flatbreads and burgers all made the list of top five items British regularly choose for their lunches, the simple sandwich appeared just ninth on the list, with only 15% of respondents saying they regularly eat them for lunch.
Instead, 42% of respondents said they regularly eat salads for lunch, while 37% go for wraps. A further 36% often have flatbreads for lunch and 31% choose sushi.
When quizzed on the sandwich fillings that interest them the most, respondents showed a clear bias toward fancy fillings such as avocado and pulled pork and much lower demand for the traditional British favorites that used to dominate lunchboxes. Avocado came out as the most popular sandwich filler, with 1 in 3 (33%) listing it as a favorite filling, followed closely by pulled pork at 32%, and smoked salmon at 28%. This is compared to just 11% opting for a classic ham & cheese, 9% selecting egg mayo, and just 5% preferring the old-school favorite, peanut butter.
Analysts from Spitalfields Market explained: “Sandwiches have been a staple in British diets for centuries, but the 21stcentury has seen people opting for arguably healthier options and wider varieties of lunchtime meals. In today’s overtly health and body conscious society adults are becoming stricter with their eating habits. They want choices that will shake up their daily routine, give them diet-friendly choices and importantly, something to look forward to come lunchtime. Street food is another trend that we feel is contributing to this shift in eating habits. Spitalfields Market has been tracking increased footfall to its food stalls between 12-3pm over the last year, as local residents and professionals are becoming more adventurous in their food choices. We’ve also noticed a significant increase in ‘clean eating’ with much higher demand for options including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free. Lollipop at Spitalfields is London’s first fruit-based café, meeting the clean eating demand across all three of these dietary requirements.”
The research also highlights a differentiation in food choices across the various age groups, with Millennials and Gen Zs far less likely to opt for traditional sandwiches, instead choosing artisanal lunches compared to middle-aged respondents. Of those younger respondents surveyed, just 5% claim to make homemade sandwiches for their lunch every day.