London: 19th October 2011– The future looks challenging for traditional sandwich makers, as retailers, coffee shops, supermarkets and petrol stations expand their ranges to offer variety and value, backed by the convenience of availability at all points of the day. That is the key finding of latest research from foodservices specialists, The NPD Group.
Research from NPD shows that consumers seeking value and convenience are the big winners at the moment. Growth in the take-away sandwich category has predominantly been in retail, supermarket, and petrol stations, where value and convenience are key features. At the same time, supermarkets and other retailers are increasing their number of outlets, putting them in direct competition with fast food players on the high street for sales at core meal times, including lunch and dinner. The sandwich market is a significant one in the UK and in the 12 months ending June 2011, the number of sandwiches bought to eat out of the home grew by 87.6 million (from 1.9 billion to 2.0 billion) – an increase of 4.5% over the same period to June 2010. Outlets gaining the most from the increased sales were pubs (where sandwich sales increased by 31.5 million sandwiches), coffee shops (up by 27.4 million sandwiches) and retail/supermarkets, selling 19.9 million more sandwiches to eat on the go. In the same period, quick service sandwich specialists achieved minor growth of 1% for the year ending June 2011, selling an extra 6.7 million sandwiches, although their quick service bakery counterparts posted 4% growth for the same period; an increase of just over 7 million sandwich servings. Commenting on the change to the competitive landscape for traditional sandwich brands, Guy Fielding, NPD’s Director of Foodservice says: “Non-sandwich specialists are offering the convenience of longer opening hours, a good choice of fillings at a wide range of price points and revolving menus that ensure variety. They are also packaging sandwiches and drinks into ‘meal deals’ for value and adding innovations such as smaller portions, half sandwiches, or ‘skinny’ offerings. Basically, they are making it possible to pick up a fresh, good value sandwich-based meal when and where we want, without going out of our way to buy it. It is a real step-change for this sector of the food market. ”
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The fortunes of frozen yoghurt look set to be rejuvenated by Coolberry Cafe, a brand developed by former BB’s Coffee and Muffins executive Michelle Young.
Coolberry Cafe - expect big things.
Young is planning a two-pronged approach to marketing her new product. One is to offer coffee shop and cafe proprietors what she calls a good add-on product – complete with brand support material for in-store sales; and two is the development of a mobile concept aimed primarily at event catering.
According to Young, frozen yoghurt has re-emerged as a lifestyle product with a strong healthy eating agenda.
“People are much more aware of the health benefits,” she said, adding that the product is made in Italy and offers a refreshing, light taste similar in style to a sorbet.
Coolberry Cafe is targeting coffee shops, high street bakeries and sandwich outlets, offering branded or unbranded refrigeration equipment and point-of-sale. Young, who has also penetrated the education sector, claims that her product is not seasonal and that sales figures prove its popularity throughout the year.
The mobile Coolberry Cafe idea, while in its infancy, has already proved successful for Young and she plans to expand it next year, possibly looking at franchising.
“It’s a good format and there are so many events next year,” she said.
Coolberry Cafe frozen yoghurt is dispensed through a soft serve ice cream machine and resembles a Mr Whippy in terms of appearance.
Young argues that while some people, particularly the older generation, fail to understand frozen yoghurt as a concept, most people who try it walk away with a smile on their faces.
Select Service Partner buoyant, claims Keating
Tony Keating, the CEO of Select Service Partner (SSP), claims that the company is ‘doing well in difficult times’.
Caffe Ritazza - a leading SSP brand.
The international travel catering business operates 25 different foodservice brands in 30 countries and, according to Keating, is operating in growth markets – predominantly air and rail.
“Throughout the world, passenger numbers are recovering,” said Keating, reaffirming SSP’s long-term commitment to the sector ‘today and tomorrow’.
Keating highlighted an understandable sales dip for SSP in Egypt, but added that, despite the troubles there, sales had started to recover.
Keating said that SSP’s Uppercrust brand has been ‘amazingly successful’ as it is genuinely an ‘on the move’ product offering. The brand is 100 per cent company-owned and operates 60 units in the UK. Growth plans are focused around airports.
SSP’s Millie’s Cookies will grow through franchising and has a presence in most of the UK’s best shopping centres. The brand makes a five per cent contribution to SSP’s £600 million UK turnover and is a ‘strong revenue generator’, according to Keating.
As a Burger King franchisee, SSP has outlets in most of its UK locations and would consider airports for future development, should client demand arise. Keating said that SSP clients tend to avoid operating Burger King and McDonald’s on the same site.
SSP is a Soho Coffee Co franchisee and has plans to expand the brand, which is food-led. There are currently two units at Manchester Airport and one at Birmingham Airport’s Terminal Two.
SSP owns and runs 45 Caffe Ritazza units in the UK and 140 globally. The Ritazza brand works well for SSP, according to Keating, as it is licensed and provides a flexible day-part offering for travellers.
The priority for Caffe Ritazza, said Keating, was driving like-for-like sales in existing stores and rolling out the brand’s new format as and when opportunities arise.
SSP plans to remain focused on the travel sector. With a presence at over 250 airports globally, the company hopes to win more business in the USA and expand its operations in Asia.
I Made it For You - opens in Hoxton
A ‘greasy spoon’ cafe, formerly known as The Teapot, has re-opened as I Made it For You, a tea and home-made cakes operation based in Hoxton, London.
The concept is the brainchild of Karen Byrne and Tom Hopkinson and is very much based upon selling traditional tea and cakes baked on the premises.
I Made it For You opened in September and has been a labour of love for Byrne and Hopkinson who are self-confessed foodies.
“The whole idea is about being in somebody’s kitchen. All the baking is done on shop floor and a big inspiration has been Tom’s mum’s kitchen in Shropshire,” Byrne explained, adding that the menu is limited because of the size of the kitchen.
“We’re hoping to offer hot stews daily and have applied for an alcohol licence. The plan is to open in the evening and sell a selection of Irish cheeses, ham hock terrine and pork pies. It’s all about using free range meats and high quality produce – the sort of thing you eat at home,” Byrne said.
During the day, I Made if For You is ‘a nice cafe’, according to Byrne, where the main focus will be on serving tea and cake.
Tea, supplied by London-based Postcard Teas, is served in pot. There are 10 different varieties on offer including five black teas and two oolongs as well as chai and Pu-ehr, a Chinese tea.
According to Byrne, the plan is to develop a local audience and focus on weekday trade initially.
“We’re hands on and do all the cooking,” Byrne said, explaining how her day starts at 6am with baking Welsh cakes, which are similar to scones.
“Tom does the coffee and we might swap over, but customers can ask us what we’re doing; the idea is that you’re in our kitchen and you’re eating hot food straight from our ovens,” Byrne added.
Indie operator in Stratford’s Westfield
David Dickinson, a Putney-based independent coffee shop operator, has opened a store in the new Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, East London.
Independent coffee shop Grind can be found in Stratford's Westfield.
The former musician was approached by a regular customer who was also a director of Westfield - and a big fan of Dickinson’s South West London coffee shop.
Over the past two years, Dickinson’s Grind coffee shop in Putney has received a great deal of positive publicity based purely on the quality of the coffee, the service and the store’s general vibe.
The Westfield director approached Dickinson with a view to Grind opening inside the shopping mall, but Dickinson was initially reluctant to proceed.
“I didn’t really know if it was the route to take. I had no finance, but to cut a long story short, they [Westfield] said that they would back me,” he said.
Grind’s Stratford Westfield unit is located in the Great Eastern Market section of the mall and opened to the public on September 13. It opens seven days a week and serves an antipodean style of coffee and a range of products baked on-site such as ANZAC biscuits as well as sandwiches, brownies and cakes.
Dickinson describes Grind’s Westfield store as a local cafe in a mainstream market.
“It’s very busy, but relaxed and homely,” he said.