One of the best things about sandwiches is the ingredient creativity and customization to just about anyone’s taste preferences that they allow.

New consumer survey findings compiled by market research firm Technomic have identified some key ingredient attributes that fuel consumers’ sandwich-buying decisions.

Fresh and premium ingredients are most important to consumers, supporting the idea that taste and quality rank as the overall leading sandwich purchase drivers. Technomic suggests that foodservice operators consider building their promotional messaging around freshness and quality to attract more sandwich customers.

The research noted that many consumers also prioritize price and value when deciding where to eat, suggesting it is crucial for foodservice operators to determine what’s most important to their specific guest base.

The survey found fresh ingredients tops the list of consumer preferences driving sandwich purchases at foodservice, with 54% of overall respondents identifying that as their top selling point. There was a broad preference gap for fresh ingredients by age, with 60% of respondents ages 35-plus stating a preference for fresh ingredients compared to just 40% for consumers ages 18-34.

In some good news for meat product marketers, “high in protein” ranked No. 3 as a selling point for sandwiches, cited by 35% of overall respondents. The 35-plus demographic edged out younger consumers in preferring high-protein sandwich offerings, with 37% of that age group identifying high protein as a purchase driver versus 30% for the 18-34 age group.

Other notable sandwich purchase drivers from the Technomic survey were:

  • natural ingredients — 34%
  • made from scratch — 34%
  • low salt/sodium — 22%
  • local ingredients — 17%
  • low sugar — 15%
  • low calorie — 14%
  • organic ingredients — 14%.

In related sandwich news, Technomic’s research finds that among limited-time offers with the highest purchase intent by demographic, segment and cuisine, Millennial male customers patronizing limited-service restaurants favor the Bacon and Swiss Chicken Sandwich at Au Bon Pain. That sandwich features sliced chicken, Swiss cheese, hardwood-smoked bacon, marinated tomatoes, field greens and jalapeno aioli on toasted semolina.