The US market for sandwiches was worth more than US$121bn in 2005, according to research out late last week, and is projected to continue to grow exponentially.

According to a report by Packaged Facts, much of the success is down to the growth of sandwich chains. However, the points-of-purchase for sandwiches continue to be diverse, from retail outlets and warehouse clubs to convenience stores, restaurants, and institutions. Indeed, sandwiches continue to be a dominant force, making up 25% of the total US foodservice sales.

However, sandwich chains, while trumped in overall sandwich sales by burger joints (which accounted for 45% of the sandwich market), realised the greatest revenue growth from 2003 to 2005, while at the same time adding units faster than any other sandwich segment.

"With the introduction of paninis and international flavour profiles, the opportunity to raise sandwiches to a new art form has taken place as even local delis and convenience stores have begun to upscale and add health-infused ingredients to their sandwich arsenals," said Don Montuori, the publisher of Packaged Facts. "Sales in retail outlets now surpass sandwich chains, and restaurants sales, which dominate the market with more than half of sandwich revenues, show now signs of slowing up."