Sandwiches, Burgers Prove Resilient

Only broad restaurant food category to grow last year, reports NPD

Published in CSP Daily News

CHICAGO -- Sandwiches and burgers were the only broad food category to post servings growth at both quick-service restaurants and full-service restaurants in 2009, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. In a year when restaurant traffic experienced consecutive quarterly declines, NPD foodservice market research finds that U.S. restaurant consumers gobbled-up more than 22 billion sandwiches, burgers and wraps.

"Sandwiches, burgers and wraps were the most resilient food category in this economic downturn," said Bonnie Riggs, NPD's restaurant industry [image-nocss] analyst. "The reason is it's one of the few categories that has mass appeal. Sandwiches, burgers and wraps are accessible, customizable, affordable, portable and can be dressed up, gourmet-style or dressed down."

According to NPD's CREST service, which continually tracks consumer usage of commercial and noncommercial foodservice, reports that total servings of deli/other, chicken and wraps servings in 2009 were 12 billion, an increase of 1 billion servings since 2005. Total servings of burgers in 2009 were 9.3 billion, an increase of 800,000 servings since 2005.

All dayparts contributed to sandwich gains last year, but lunch contributed 48% of the growth in 2009, according to NPD's CREST. Six out of 10 sandwiches and burgers move out of quick-service restaurants.

"Moving forward we're likely to see more operators and chains jump on the sandwich, burger and wraps band wagon, capitalizing on the growth of this category," says Riggs. "Considering how well-established the category is, it's amazing to me to see that there still is room for more growth."

The NPD Group, Chicago, is a leading provider of consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. It helps clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, commercial technology, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, foodservice, home, office supplies, software, sports, toys and wireless.