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    Sandwiches, Burgers, Wraps Prove Resilient

    Only broad restaurant food category to grow last year, NPD Group reports.

    CHICAGO -- Sandwiches, burgers and wraps was the only broad food category to post servings growth at both quick-service restaurants (QSR) and full-service restaurants in 2009, according to market research company, The NPD Group. In a year when restaurant traffic experienced consecutive quarterly declines, NPD research found U.S. restaurant goers consumed more than 22 billion sandwiches, burgers and wraps.

    "Sandwiches, burgers and wraps was the most resilient food category in this economic downturn," Bonnie Riggs, NPD's restaurant industry analyst, said in a statement. "The reason is it's one of the few categories that has mass appeal. Sandwiches, burgers and wraps are accessible, customizable, affordable, portable, and can be dressed up gourmet-style or dressed down."

    According to NPD's CREST service, which continually tracks consumer usage of commercial and non-commercial foodservice, total servings of deli/other, chicken and wraps in 2009 were 12 billion, an increase of 1 billion servings since 2005. Total servings of burgers in 2009 were 9.3 billion, an increase of 800,000 servings since 2005.

    All dayparts contributed to sandwich gains last year, but lunch contributed 48 percent of the growth in 2009, according to NPD's CREST data. Six out of 10 sandwiches and burgers moved out of quick-service restaurants, according to the research.

    "Moving forward we're likely to see more operators and chains jump on the sandwich, burger and wraps bandwagon, capitalizing on the growth of this category," Riggs said. "Considering how well-established the category is, it's amazing to me to see that there still is room for more growth."

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