The real North / South divide revealed – and it’s in our sandwich fillings

The real issue splitting the nation is our sandwich fillings, according to the organisers of British Sandwich Week, which takes place from 16th to 22nd May.

Turkey Salad and Plain Cheese are the top two favourite sandwiches of Northerners, while Brie and Bacon and Chicken and Stuffing are favoured by the South. The results come in from a nationwide survey to find the nations sandwich preferences. 

Overall, the BLT (bacon, lettuce, and tomato) is officially the UK’s most popular sandwich filling in 2020/21 for the second year running, but the survey also uncovered some interesting findings. For the first time, tuna didn’t make the top ten, being replaced with chicken salad.

Looking at age groups, it seems the traditional Ploughman’s sandwich is in danger of extinction as it was relegated to the bottom of the pile for the under 25s, while more mature munchers (over 55s) prefer a classic Cheese and Pickle. 

The under 25s age group also loves a Christmas dinner sandwich, a relatively new addition to sandwich fixtures and only available during the festive season. 64 per cent of them were bought by the under 45s so is this a sign there needs to be a call for a year-round Christmas dinner butty?

Nationally, the sandwich is still the go to lunch option for the vast majority of Brits – with 72% of spending at lunchtime going on sandwiches.

Jim Winship, Director of The British Sandwich & Food To Go Association behind British Sandwich Week said: “Every year we take a full view of the UK sandwich market for British Sandwich Week and this year there are some real surprises. While we know we’re a nation of bacon lovers, as it features in four of the top sandwich fillings, we didn’t expect there to be such a divide between the North and South, but it shows there are totally different taste preferences across the country. 

“British Sandwich Week celebrates the sandwich in all its glory as well as the contribution that the sandwich industry makes to the economy. This year, it has the even greater aim of supporting the industry as it comes back after a year of lockdowns. Sandwiches are a British staple to be enjoyed at any time of the day, and as we can see in the latest statistics, it’s very clear that as a nation we still love our sandwiches.

“We’d encourage Brits to support their local sandwich shop, bakery, supermarket and meal deal outlet during British Sandwich Week to help the industry bounce back as lockdown restrictions gradually ease.”


Top five sandwich fillings in the North

  1. Turkey Salad
  2. Plain Cheese
  3. Tuna and Sweetcorn
  4. Plain Ham
  5. Cheese and Tomato


Top five sandwich filings in the South

  1. Bacon and Brie
  2. Chicken and Stuffing
  3. Beef and Horseradish
  4. Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese
  5. Tuna and Cucumber

British consumers manage to munch their way through over 11.5 billion sandwiches each year. If you laid each one end to end, they would go around the world about 44 times. More than half of these were made and eaten in the home.

Well over 3.6billion sandwiches are purchased from retail or catering outlets each year and we paid over £8 billion for them – that’s as much as 475,765 brand new Vauxhall Corsas (2020’s most popular car). The average price of a sandwich is conservatively estimated at £2.20.

A burger is NOT a sandwich according to The British Sandwich Association

What is a sandwich? The British Sandwich Association defines a sandwich as: Any form of bread with a filling, generally assembled cold – to include traditional wedge sandwiches, as well as filled rolls, baguettes, pitta, bloomers, wraps, bagels and the like, but not burgers and other products assembled and consumed hot. Hot eating sandwiches are also included.


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