Baking & Snack - August 2016 - 52


Breadstick Bun Sandwiches to its menu. The
Orlando-based restaurant chain created a sandwich
bun from its ever-popular breadsticks, which are
usually served to customers at the beginning of the
meal. Sandwiches served on the Breadstick Bun include the Italian Meatball Sandwich, which features
Sicilian meatballs with Alfredo and marinara, and
Chicken Parmigiana, which features a parmesanbreaded chicken breast that is fried and topped with
Italian cheese and marinara.

The ethnic twist
Creative sandwich varieties are also taking inspiration from around the globe and a multitude of
cultures, whether it's bringing the familiar to an
ethnic-style sandwich or putting an international
twist on an old standby.
According to Datassential, QSR and fast-casual
establishments are employing these menu strategies, including banh mi, tortas, cemitas and Cuban
sandwiches, noting that tortas come with the strongest appeal with 60% of consumers. Not far behind,
falafel and shawarma are popular with about half.
One to watch, banh mi is catching consumers'
attention and opening doors for creative interpretation. Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese offers a pork
belly banh mi made with three different meats
and its signature pickled onions. "People love that
explosiveness and are picking up on it more and
more," Mr. McCarthy said.
Meltz is also launching a California Roll grilled
cheese. "It's our first 'sushi melt,' '' Mr. McCarthy
noted. "It has everything that's in a California roll:
the crab salad, avocado, cucumber, little fried tempura crunchies and the nori and sesame blend with
a yum-yum sauce and a wasabi-and-soy dipping
sauce on the side," he said. The sandwich is grilled
with provolone cheese that holds up well to the
bold flavors.
These big twist and creative interpretations are increasing rings for foodservice operators. In fact, at
Meltz, the restaurant can charge as much as $13 for
one of its signature grilled cheeses. "Some people say
that's ridiculous, but those are the people who just
don't get it," Mr. McCarthy said, referring to its significant number of 5-star Yelp ratings.
Sandwiches are nothing new, but they're also not
immune to consumers' evolving interests and everchanging needs. Now that bread is beloved once
again, there are myriad ways to get creative with
the carrier or even use a basic bread to empower
restauranteurs and sandwich makers to run wild
with their imaginations and culinary skills.


52 Baking & Snack August 2016 /

Flat sales spur creativity
While the in-store bakery and the perimeter of
the grocery store may be seeing a surge in sales,
fresh bread in this area is not, according to data
presented at the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery
Association (IDDBA)'s Dairy-Deli-Bake Seminar
and Expo, held June 5-7 in Houston.
In the Ed Talk session "New ways to win with
ISB bread," Eric Richard, education coordinator,
IDDBA, said fresh bread isn't keeping pace with
the rest of the fresh food offered in the perimeter
of the supermarket. While flatbreads and sandwich bread are growing, fresh bread in the in-store
bakery is experiencing flat or declining sales.
Mr. Richard and Scott Fox, bakery operations
director, Dorothy Lane Markets, Dayton, OH, offered in-store bakery operators ways to promote
the sales of fresh bread, most notably through
proactive shopper engagement targeting younger demographics of millennials and Generation Z.
"Reaching these demographics is a whole different animal," Mr. Fox said.
Proactive shopper engagement may come in
the form of demos or educating shoppers of how
to use fresh bread and pair it with other finds
in the store's perimeters. Gonnella Baking Co.,
Chicago, a supplier to in-store bakeries, is doing
just that with a new program the bakery is developing aimed at engaging sandwich builders and
grocery store commissaries.
"We want to create an interest in bread, recipe
development and getting consumers to think
of bread in new and creative ways," said Tom
Marcucci, vice-president of sales and marketing
at Gonnella Baking Co.
Gonnella is looking to engage with young,
edgy chefs around the country to create a series
of videos of them using Gonnella bread in creative ways.
"This isn't a celebrity endorsement," Mr.
Marcucci said. "Millennials are smarter than that."
This is a way for Gonnella to engage and educate consumers at the same time, an opportunity
for the company to get consumers excited about
using fresh bread and illustrate the creativity that
can go along with it.
While sandwich builders and grocery store
commissaries may be the intended targets for the
videos, Gonnella Baking Co. hopes the excitement
and creativity will trickle down to the shopper.
- Charlotte Atchley

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