During our 85 years in the packaging industry, much has changed. We’ve seen globalisation, the widespread use of the internet and previously unimaginable new technologies emerge – but one of the most significant changes we have witnessed as a business, has been the rise in popularity and the evolution of the simple sandwich.
According to The British Sandwich and Food to Go Association, over 3 billion sandwiches are bought from UK retail or catering outlets each year, with 1 in 5 of us Brits tucking in daily.
Back in the early 1980s we showcased six plain white paperboard food packaging prototypes at the Fast-Food Fair in Brighton, marking a turning point in our business. It also demonstrated our agility and flexible manufacturing capabilities to maximise opportunities early on as another significant event was taking place at this time – the introduction of packaged sandwiches on the shelves of several Marks & Spencer stores.
They were the first to do it, and evidently their intuition paid off, as the British sandwich industry now employs over 300 000 people and over £8 billion is spent on packaged sandwiches annually by UK consumers.
Sandwiches are big business
The rise in popularity of packaged sandwiches reflected the cultural shift in the way people conducted their daily lives and how the world of work was evolving. Sandwiches fit nicely into busy days, they are quick to eat and convenient to hold. They’ve also become a sociable fast food with many high-end varieties available – grabbing a sandwich with friends or colleagues or stopping for a quick sandwich on a family day out, has become commonplace.
As consumer appetites grew, so did the sandwich offering, from humble to haute with a myriad of filling options while wholemeal, rye and sourdough superseded the unassuming white slice. Hot sandwiches, like paninis, along with wraps, bagels and baguettes soon entered the market and now all compete for consumer attention on the shelf, alongside other popular options such as salads and sushi.
A pack to meet every sandwich preference
To meet the evolution of the food-to-go market, we have continued to innovate new, efficient packaging solutions which stand out to consumers on the shelf. Our ranges span a multitude of styles, sizes, materials, and functionality to suit varying needs from shelf-life, stacking, branding, visibility through to sustainability.
Our same day sandwich packs suit both square cut bloomer and triangle cut sandwiches while catering to smaller eaters with mini sizes and triple sandwich packs for larger appetites. Each pack features a PLA film to give customers clear visibility of the product and with all packs being recyclable and most being compostable too, they make a great choice of pack for the freshest of sandwiches.
Our range of longer shelf-life/heat seal sandwich packaging includes our Appealable self-seal packs, and Zest™ heat seal range. To extend the shelf life even further, Modified Atmosphere Food Packaging removes the oxygen to keep the contents fresher for longer, ideal for sandwich manufacturers who transport their products over long distances and helping to mitigate food waste. WRAP research has shown that extending product life by just one day could save 250,000 tonnes of food waste in the UK annually.
With options to add custom printing to highlight branding and a skilled in-house design team to work side by side with customers, we can cater to all needs in the booming sandwich marketplace.
Sustainability in sandwich packaging
Each sandwich pack reflects Colpac’s ongoing drive towards sustainability in food packaging and is created from either a recyclable or compostable material, manufactured from mixed FSC® certified board and meets the coating levels for CPI and OPRL’s recyclability thresholds.