In the summer of 2023, deli sandwich specialist Raybern’s commissioned research to determine what consumers prioritized when it came to grab-and-go sandwiches.

Among the most important things when it came to packaging, said Lexi Levang, associate brand manager, were clearly communicated product claims and good product photography.

The sandwiches themselves, meanwhile, shouldn’t be too messy and should use freshly baked breads and freshly sliced meats. Those surveyed by Raybern’s also said they were looking for familiar ingredients. 

The company also asked what was the sandwich consumers made themselves most frequently. The answer, ham, happened to be a sandwich that Raybern’s at the time didn’t make.

The results of the research bore fruit by the end of 2023, when Raybern’s announced it was completely revamping its sandwich line in 2024.

Among the highlights? You guessed it, a Ham and Swiss, which comes on a Hawaiian style hoagie roll. 

Raybern’s also revamped its Roast Beef & Cheddar to include a soft poppy seed roll.

Other heavy lifters for the company to get upgrades included its Philly Cheesesteak, Chicken Bacon Ranch, and Barbecue Pulled Pork. Higher quality meats, cheeses, and sauces are among the improvements.

The chicken on the Chicken Bacon Ranch was switched from shredded to thinly sliced, and it now comes on a new bread, a pretzel roll, Levang said.

The pork in the Barbecue Pulled Pork, meanwhile, is chunkier, which Levang said creates a “much better eating experience.” 

So far, feedback on all of the revamped sandwiches has been “really positive,” Levang said.

“We’re trying to make sure people realize that Raybern’s is better than ever before.”

Citing a 2023 scan data report from Nielsen, Raybern’s said its brand is the best-selling Philly Cheesesteak in the United States. The company also looks forward to introducing “bigger and better” New York deli-style sandwiches to consumers in 2024.

Packaging of the new sandwiches not only includes new photography but a more contemporary logo, Levang said. Previously, Raybern’s more white and gray packaging tended to blend in with other products.

“We wanted to make sure it popped on the shelf,” she said. 

Research continues to show, Levang said, that grab-and-go continues to be a category that people are looking for when they think of sandwiches.

This article is an excerpt from the May 2024 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Sandwiches feature and more in the digital edition here.