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Summer might be winding down, but with warm weather activities still going strong, your customers are looking for culinary options for outdoor concerts, backyard picnics, neighborhood block parties and weekends at the beach.
Sandwiches piled high with seasonal vegetables, and salads tossed with farm-fresh veggies and fresh fruit, can help them stay cool while heating up late-summer deli sales.
That’s the approach the deli at City Market Coop in Burlington, Vt., takes with its signature sandwiches, sandwich bar, and hot and cold bar—all featuring a variety of choices for late-summer dining.
“The City Market Club, the Chicken Pesto and the Firehouse Sub are our most popular sandwiches,” reports Jim Downing, the deli team leader, who notes that customers can order sandwiches on any bread they choose—including baguettes and Italian sub rolls.
Curry chicken, macaroni and potato salads (made in the on-site kitchen and available for quick pickup in City Market’s Grab and Go section), and cut fruit salad served fresh on the cold bar are other chilled choices, Downing says.
Take note of trends
The Food Channel, in conjunction with consumer insights company CultureWaves, reports these trends that can serve as jumping-off points for innovative sub, salad and fruit offerings:
- Be creative with bread. “We are watching breads closely for several factors, but primarily because they are some of the hottest news in sandwiches,” the trend report notes. Pretzel bread, brioche, Hawaiian rolls and anything homemade are becoming mainstream; other interesting choices include artisan breads in 12-grain, semolina, white and sprouted grain varieties like those offered by Bridor, an artisan bakery firm.
- For salads, go with the grain. Grains are going strong, whether mixed into salad greens or as a stand-alone like tabbouleh or quinoa, the report states. “We’re seeing a lot of attention around ancient grains such as freekeh, spelt, chia and farro,” The Food Channel reports. Wilted salads are popular too: Think charred endive, often filled with a cheese mixture or another vegetable.
- Consider new cheeses—on subs and on salads. Semi-soft cheeses like burrata, fontina, Gruyere and Brie are giving hard deli cheeses a run for the money. “You see it happening with feta on salads, and Brie on sandwiches, and we expect new cheese choices to offer new experiences particularly around texture,” according to the trend report. “There is an opportunity for both salads and sandwiches to significantly change flavor and texture profiles with a difference in cheese choices, particularly when mixed with other unusual components—yogurt bites, pistachios and various seeds.”
- Try vegetable toppings. Broccoli, asparagus and anything roasted are great for topping meats and other proteins. “Thyme has come into play with roasted vegetables and helps to make an excellent sandwich or salad topping,” The Food Channel reports.