COMMUNITY | Staff Reporter, Australia

The Australasian Sandwich Association's Graeme McCormack on how the association will tackle the decline in sandwich consumption

QSR Media recently reported that a study undertaken by the NPD Group Crest Services has shown a nearly 19% decline in sandwich consumption by 18-24 year olds.  

QSR media talks to Graeme McCormack, Executive Director of the newly created Australasian Sandwich Association about the long term decline of sandwich consumption by younger Australian's and what the ASA is doing to tackle this.

We asked Graeme the following questions:

QSR Media: What do sandwich retailers need to be doing to increase patronage?
McCormack: The main thing is consistently providing better quality sandwiches, with an increased focus on the use of fresh ingredients, innovative fillings, sauces and relishes. In addition, retailers can start using artisan style breads, and improving their overall food presentation. At the end of the day, customers “eat with their eyes”, so it’s got to be well presented. The other key factor is improving the customer experience. Sandwich retailers need to couple a great product with a great in-store experience. This could be as simple as creating a clean comfortable store environment, or acknowledging and thanking their customers for their patronage. Both would be best!

QSR Media: What's the long term outlook for the industry?
McCormack: The outlook is actually looking quite strong, despite the recent drop in figures in Generation Y. In the last three years, there has been the emergence of some very creative and passionate ‘sandwich entrepreneurs’, in both the wholesale and retail sectors. This, coupled with significant advancements in food processing technologies, should see strong growth and development of the industry as a whole.

The other key factor indicating the industry’s long-term success is the continued development of consumer’s product expectations. The reality is, and similar to the revolution the espresso coffee industry has been through over the past decade, people are now becoming more and more discerning as to where they buy their sandwiches, purely based on quality and value for money. The industry must continue to innovate and grow in terms of quality and value in order to meet these heightened consumer expectations and demands.

QSR Media: How will the initiatives by the ASA assist in making sandwiches more popular
McCormack: There are a number of ways in which we hope to help make sandwiches more popular. We’re aiming to raise the awareness of sandwiches as being a genuine ‘meal occasion’ and assist our members to create and deliver better sandwich products into the market, at all levels. An industry body needs to act as a bit of a one-stop-shop for its members, in terms of directing them to quick-fire solutions for the day-to-day challenges they will face in their respective businesses. If we can help sandwich businesses provide better products for their customers and meet the consumer needs, we’ll see an increase in the popularity of sandwiches.

QSR Media: Why has the ASA been set up, and what do they hope to achieve?
McCormack:The Australasian Sandwich Association (ASA) was founded to represent the manufacturers, suppliers and retailers of the sandwich industry, endorsing and celebrating the sector in Australasia and beyond.
As the industry’s voice, the ASA’s core objective is to safeguard the future for sandwich makers by liaising with the government and other regulatory bodies to achieve the most desired outcome on decisions relating to the industry for the café and sandwich sector as a whole.

By bringing sandwich makers together through a mix of interactive networking events and the sharing of useful, reliable and industry-focused information, the ASA gives the industry one unified voice to safeguard the sector’s integrity, promote the nutritional value of sandwiches and publicise examples of excellence and innovation. 

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