Ahead of World Sandwich Day on Sunday, 3rd November 2019, research¹ commissioned by the Irish Bread Bakers Association (IBBA) reveals that Irish people are quite traditional when it comes to their favourite sandwiches with nostalgia winning out over trendier fillings. Ham and cheese feature in the nation’s top two sandwiches – the toasted special of ham, cheese and onion (23%) and the classic ham and cheese variety (19%). Moreover, for those yearning for a taste of years gone by, the ham and cheese sandwich also emerges as one of the biggest reminders of people’s childhood (31%), just edged out from the top spot by the old reliable, the humble jam and butter sandwich (34%).
The IBBA research reveals that bread is still very much part of Irish people’s diet. Lunchtime is when most Irish people eat bread (70%), whereas over half (51%) start their day with it at breakfast, with one in five (22%) loving some bread with their evening meal. When it comes to sandwiches, not surprisingly, lunchtime is when the majority of people like to eat them (75%). However, a third of those surveyed like a sandwich when watching the TV while one in ten say they eat one after an exercise session.
Irish people are also quite traditional in terms of how they eat sliced bread. Apart from in sandwiches, over half enjoy bread with their soup weekly while over a third eat ‘soldiers’ with a boiled egg at least once a week. Bread features in dessert choices too with the research showing that one in ten have the very traditional bread and butter pudding weekly.
Oonagh Monaghan, Food science expert and spokesperson for the IBBA, says: “Storm Emma last year revealed what bread bakers have long known – the sliced pan continues to be a favourite part of our lives and our diet in Ireland.
“Bread is an affordable, nutritious source of food that scientific evidence shows is good to eat and can contribute to a healthy diet. The Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance (IUNA) report² on the consumption of white and wholemeal bread in Ireland, for example, concluded that white bread is a source of many important nutrients for Irish consumers with white bread contributing only 1% to our daily fat and sugar intake,” she said.
The sandwich commemorates John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. A famous gambler, it is said that he ordered his valet to bring a slice of meat between two slices of bread so that he could eat without getting his cards greasy or having to leave the gaming table for a meal.
¹ Research was conducted as part of the iReach Consumer Omnibus Survey during February 2019 on a nationwide sample of 1,001 adults.
² Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance (IUNA) Report on the pattern of white and wholemeal bread consumption in Irish adults and pre-school children. Commissioned by the Irish Bread Bakers Association. September 2016