The sandwich is the original convenience meal. A neat and efficient way to hold and eat messy foods like cooked meats, the first sandwich dates back 2,300 years to the Qin Dynasty, when the Chinese invented the Rou jia mo, literally "meat stuffed bread." The modern hamburger is a direct descendant.
Convenience remains paramount for hectic modern lifestyles, but flavor plays a critical role. The popularity of the sandwich-from the American deli sandwich and cheeseburger to the Italian panini and Greek gyro-as a worldwide meal staple is undeniably enhanced by cheese and other dairy products.
A broad array of cheeses from U.S. dairy producers is available, and includes sliced and shingle-packed varieties for ease of use on sandwiches. Learn more about U.S. dairy products by browsing the Product Section.
"Meat stuffed bread" beginnings have evolved into all types of sandwiches and all manner of fillings. Hot or cold, filled with meats or vegetarian fare, sandwiches also often feature cheeses as an essential component.
Regional names for cold sandwiches vary in the United States-submarines, heros, grinders, and hoagies, to name a few-but sliced meats and cheeses still top the ingredient list.
For hot sandwiches, the cheeseburger is the longtime lead item across all U.S. restaurant segments. Hot chicken sandwich menu offerings continue to expand. Both beef and chicken offerings highlight new varieties of natural and artisan cheeses across U.S. restaurant segments. Meanwhile, new twists on the simple grilled cheese sandwich tap the comfort food trend revival.
Upscale market menus
The push for quality ingredients provides upscale appeal to new menu offerings at quick service restaurant (QSR) and fast-casual restaurants. Natural cheeses take the place of pasteurized process singles on new menu items to create hot and cold sandwiches consumers perceive as more nutritious and healthful than standard fare. Flavorful cheeses-varieties such as cheddar, provolone, pepper jack and smoked gouda-improve sandwich item taste profiles without extra calories and added fats, and use is on the rise for menu items across all U.S. restaurant segments.
Artisan grilled cheese
Consumer familiarity with the wider range of cheese options is on the rise, and diners are open to new takes on their favorite comfort foods. A hot new upscale dining option, the grilled cheese sandwich is no longer exclusively relegated to special processed sliced cheese "Children's Menu" offerings from the U.S. family restaurant segment. Indeed, a wide variety of artisan and gourmet cheeses now combine with unusual ingredients to create grilled cheese sandwiches suited for developing and sophisticated taste preferences. Use of intensely flavored artisan cheeses in upscale dining grilled cheese sandwich applications-brie with prosciutto, blue cheese with grilled peaches-shows momentum in recent years.
Formulas & Recipes
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