CHICAGO — With expectations highest among people aged 18 to 24, diners want more variety in sandwiches, according to Sandwich Consumer Trend Report, a new study from foodservice industry consultant Technomic.

Only 52% of consumers polled were satisfied with the variety of sandwiches available at sub shops and delis, while only 42% were satisfied with the sandwich offerings at full-service restaurants. Eighteen- to 24-year-olds were least satisfied, at 44% and 40%, respectively.

More than four out of five consumers said the quality of meat (86%), freshness of ingredients (84%), and quality of bread (81%) have the most impact in making a good sandwich.

Other findings include:

• Eighty-one percent of consumers have purchased a sandwich away from home at least once in the past 60 days. Among these consumers, 93% eat at least one sandwich a week, and 59% say they eat at least three sandwiches a week.

• Seventy-seven percent of consumers surveyed said they had eaten a hamburger in the past 60 days, while 57% said they had eaten deli sandwiches, 52% had eaten tacos or burritos and 47% had consumed sub sandwiches.

• More than four in five consumers say quality and taste drive their selection of where to purchase a sandwich for both lunch (84%) and dinner (82%). Overall value and price round out the top three traffic drivers, with more than seven in 10 consumers citing each as a reason for choosing a specific restaurant for lunch and dinner sandwich purchases.

• Most consumers (77%) report that customization and quantity of ingredients (75%) are crucial factors to creating a good sandwich.

“Due to the high versatility and saturation of the sandwich market, it is important for operators to stay abreast of current trends and evolving consumer needs,” said Darren Tristano, executive vice-president. “To improve in the area of variety, operators and suppliers may want to consider offering a wider range of sandwich ingredients, developing signature sandwich offerings, and allowing guests to customize their sandwiches.”