With British Sandwich Week having begun on Sunday, the food and drink team thought they should take a look at one of the most contentious sandwich issues – how do you cut yours?
How to slice a sarnie can be a contentious issue and the nation is clearly divided.
Do you go for the diagonal, or slice horizontally straight down the middle, or go school packed lunch-style with squares?
Research for British Sandwich Week has revealed that Brits overwhelmingly go for the rectangle with 39% of the nation choosing that shape. Triangle comes in second place with the research suggesting that 30% and 20% of Brits like to cut their sarnies into squares.
Some 11% of sandwich lovers are “other” – either on the fence and flit between the two, don’t slice their sandwich at all, or opt for another shape.
And 1% said they “don’t know” whether they slice their sandwich or not – maybe a result of the lockdown lunch-making haze.
Triangles for youngsters
Age-wise, the over-35s tend to go for rectangles, with the biggest group being the 35 to 44 year olds (44% opt for rectangles), and the younger generation (18 to 34 year olds) prefer a triangular-shaped sarnie.
Bringing a new shape into the equation, 33% of 18 to 24 year olds cut their sandwich into four squares – likely harking back to school lunch box days.
Personally, I am in the triangle camp, whether that be for a sandwich or a toastie – nothing else will do for me, but my food and drink colleagues have differing views.
Head of food and drink Julia Bryce said: “It has got to be cut horizontally for me – although my boyfriend doesn’t cut his at all! Stacked high with lots of delicious fillings is how I like my sandwiches best, and don’t forget to keep those crusts on.
“If it is a club sandwich though, I love the small triangles delis and cafes cut it into. The way The Richmond Street Deli cut their version is the perfect way, in my opinion. Although, a toastie surely has to be diagonally!”
Horizontal for Karla
Food and drink writer Karla Sinclair is in the horizontal camp – unless it’s a toastie.
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve cut my sandwiches horizontally. However when it comes to grilling or toasting the sandwich, I slice it diagonally,” she said.
“My family always did this when I was growing up, so I picked it up from them and it’s just become a habit really. I don’t think I’ll ever be swayed to switch it up.”
Fellow team member Rebecca Shearer added: “Generally when I make myself a sandwich I often just slap on some cheese, ham and salad and won’t be anywhere near the knife drawer, so I wouldn’t slice my sandwiches in those instances.
“However, if I fancy a bit of pate, pickle, chutney or want to push the boat out with a bit of butter on the bread, and I am using a knife already then I will slice the sandwich.
“Slicing it diagonally seems like the most sensible thing to do and I am aware that it is a common practice, but when caught in the moment, I forget about this and just slice the bread horizontally.
Jim Winship, director of The British Sandwich & Food To Go Association behind British Sandwich Week said: “We know there are benefits to both rectangular and triangular sandwiches – we’re not circling around the issue.
“The rectangle brings structural integrity, an easy grip, no floppy corners, while the triangle is easier on the eye as you can see more of the filling, and you have more of a crustless edge to enjoy.
“Squares is something of a new contender and we’re happy to see new shapes being welcomed into our sandwich slicing traditions. It’s certainly a trend to watch, and it could be the start of us seeing square-cut sandwiches in shops and cafes.
“Thankfully, you can’t go wrong with a sandwich, whichever way you cut it, and we know it’s important to embrace (and consume) all shapes and sizes.
“Don’t even get us started on trapezoid-shaped sandwiches!”
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.
British consumers manage to munch their way through more than 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.