August is finally here, and for some that means back to school, but for us that means celebrating National Sandwich Month! To make it a little easier for you, we have compiled a list of the predicted trends in the sandwich market from bloggers, chefs, and foodies around the country. Here are some of the hottest trends for sandwiches and sandwich ingredients this 2017!
1) The Cuban Sandwich
As warm sandwiches become increasingly popular in the U.S., it’s no surprise that restaurants are adding different versions of the Cuban to their menus. Recently, the Cuban has experienced a renaissance across the United States. Chefs are beginning to experiment with a wide variety of ingredients to upgrade the classic recipe with house-cured meats or a unique bread to spin a personal twist on this classic sandwich.
2) Banh Mi
If you aren’t familiar with this Vietnamese favorite, it is often made with grilled pork, cilantro, pickled carrots and served on a baguette. With authentic ethnic tastes and flavors growing more and more popular amongst the Millennial generation, Bahn Mi fans are five times more likely to see this Vietnamese dish on restaurant menus than they were just four short years ago.
3) Breakfast Sandwich Craze
At this point most restaurant goers are more than aware of the growing popularity of eggs as key ingredients, especially egg yolks. Adding to this trend, look for more crunchy items as opposed to soft scrambled eggs or buttered grits and oatmeal to find their way onto breakfast menus. Think fried chicken and eggs, or crispy chorizo or chimichurri on a breakfast sandwich available for both breakfast and lunch. This trend does not just stop at lunch! Some chefs have gone even as far as marrying harissa, a hot chili paste, into the equation and making an egg sandwich suitable for a dinner menu.
3) Other Ethnic Sandwiches
With a boom in demand for sour cocktails and an influx of drinking vinegars into the market, restaurants have begun to harness this wave and start to turn out more ethnic style sandwiches. Take for example a Cambodian Sandwich made with pickled veggies and a unique protein like Khmer sausage, or a Korean Sandwich made with beef infused with Korean barbeque sauce. Ethnic sandwiches are growing in popularity, with the Cuban and Banh Mi sandwiches leading the way for others to join. With many Millennial diners enjoying being adventurous when they go out to eat, this ethnic trend combines some familiar tastes with just enough new flavor to really catch fire.
4) Can’t Forget Grilled Cheese
Warm, gooey, melted cheese is essentially the ideal comfort food. Therefore, it’s no wonder the grilled cheese sandwich gains popularity in such uncertain times like those we are in now. Grilled cheese has now evolved into its own culinary category and it is making a big impact in the food industry. From restaurants solely dedicated to the comfort food, to chefs around the country incorporating them into every menu, there is no surprise why grilled cheese is and will always be a fan favorite. Look for hot new items marrying bold and new flavors with unique blends of cheeses for a great culinary experience!
5) What about the Bread?
One of the bigger questions to answer when ordering a sandwich is what bread do I want? The bread has always been a variable that chefs play around with to maximize the diner’s culinary experience. As of recently, many past trends like sourdough, ciabatta bread, and even tortillas have decreased in popularity in restaurants. This has made room for more modern and trendy options like baguettes, flatbreads, focaccia bread, and potato rolls to take over the menu this fall!
6) Hybrid Heat
In 2016 the popular restaurant trend was sweet heat. Now in 2017, we are moving right along the line. As consumers become more accustomed to some heat in their dishes, it has now become a question of where exactly does it come from? Expect popular peppers like serrano or habanero to be used frequently by name as an ingredient in sandwiches. Watch for spices like turmeric, harissa, and cumin to also come together and create a spicy and smoky flavored fall. This year restaurant cuisine has become more ethnic and worldly, so try some bold and new ways to add even more heat to your plate!
7) Purple Foods
Have you noticed more and more color appearing on your plate this year when going out for a meal? 2017 has become the year of the purple power foods. We can now find purple cauliflower, corn, potatoes and even asparagus to match up with the ever-popular acai berry to create a purple dream team. These ingredients not only add great color to any dish they are added to, but the purple color means that they are loaded with great nutrients and powerful antioxidants that not only taste great, but are great for us as well. Look for items like these to be featured in many dishes and sandwiches this fall!
*This post was contributed by our summer intern, Will Girimonte