For the Love of Bread and Meat: A Look at America’s Sandwich Fascination


Every day, Americans eat over 300 million sandwiches. Whether it’s the comforts of a perfectly melted grilled cheese on toast or the satisfying combo of turkey, mayo, and cranberry worth getting Ross Geller angry for, these staples of the American diet remain ever-popular throughout generations.

The bread and butter of it all

A lot of deli franchise opportunities are cropping up because there is a greater demand for these accessible meals from people who enjoy the customizability of a good sandwich. Many individuals are setting up shop with even just specific types like Hoagies or Cubanos. This advent of shops specializing in particular shops is because the market is so large and diverse that it is no longer considered niche to stick to a single star product and serve variations for different tastes.

So many iterations have seen a mix up of different meats, cuts, condiments, and breads that there is so much to try out there. But no matter how simple or complex your sandwich recipe may be, it’s always one of the easier meals to create. Hence, its popularity soared as a dish to serve both the commercial food scene and households everywhere.

With the term originally flourishing in England, this food of many layers started from a Jewish sage who had the sense to put a helping of meat in between slices of bread and ate it together. Eventually, the United States caught wind, and their own variations came up in popularity with locals. Because the dish was accessible both with how easy it was to eat and how affordable it could be (depending on some of the most commonly used popular ingredients), its rise as a staple was inevitable. To this day, as inflation and market changes rocket higher, it still maintains its positioning as a delicious and affordable option that can be eaten on the go.

Which is ‘wich

ham sandwich and coffeeEach region has coined its own names for popular sandwich creations, from the Po’Boy to Sloppy Joe. Even though it is seen everywhere, different variations carry culture and history within them. So beyond tastes and flavor preferences, every sandwich feels both universal and unique at the same time. With each bite, there is a cultural significance that is still accessible because everyone loves food.

The classic meal is also so popular because it can work as a solo offering but often works well when paired with other things. It’s not unheard of to have a sandwich with some fries or chips and even having pasta or salad on the side. This is why the classic imagery of the local delicatessen never fades out in the media. From there, you get that timeless experience of comforting food.

This staying popularity is evident in the numbers. In 2019 alone, deli shares took 13.67% of supermarket sales in the United States. In total, delis made over 50 billion USD from department and supermarket sales alone. That is fresh cold cuts and perfectly crumbly bread being the food of choice for millions of people.

Lots of practical factors weigh in on how the dish has managed to stay on top despite its long history on the menus of yore. But either way, it seems sandwiches are here for good.

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