All across the country, deli sandwich programs are bolstering their sandwich bread options to appeal to deli shoppers who are seeking out more variety. Especially driven by Millennials, this trend is reshaping the future of the deli sandwich.

Dorothy Lane Market, a three-store operator based in Dayton, OH, offers up to 10 types of bread for deli sandwiches, including Bavarian Pretzel, Farmhouse Bread, Classic 10-Grain Bread, or even fresh tortillas.

California-based Raley's is featuring new Mango Meatball Banh Mi Sandwiches served on French rolls to appeal to customers who are looking for new taste sensations.

"In order for sandwich operators to drive traffic and steal share, they have to strengthen the quality perception by promoting freshness and customization opportunities, while giving guests a more interesting range of toppings, breads and proteins that emphasize variety," says Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, Inc.

Consumers eat more than three sandwiches per week. However, 54 percent of consumers (up from 51 percent two years ago) indicate they are preparing sandwiches themselves, according to Technomic research. This means that operators and suppliers will need to focus on hard-to-duplicate menu items to entice consumers to purchase more sandwiches away from home.

For instore sandwich programs, Rich’s has just introduced “Our Specialty” flatbreads that include many different types of flatbreads, pocket breads, Naan, and pizza crusts. According to Datassential Menu Trends, the flatbread platform has experienced significant growth at restaurants in the past few years, as flatbread menu penetration has more than doubled since 2009.

Instore bakery flatbread volume rose by 4.2 percent in 2013, according to Nielsen Perishables Group.

One factor driving this trend is increased interest in healthier options. From Rich’s, their new Made with Whole Grain Wheat Pita and Multigrain Sandwich Flats are a good source of fiber.

ConAgra Foods offers six types of flatbreads for the instore bakery, including creative flavors of focaccia including whole grain, Mediterranean herb, jalapeño cheese.

Gonnella Baking Co. features a variety of ciabatta and foccacia breads, so that instores can add the extra taste to sandwiches that customers today crave.

According to new Technomic research, most consumers place high importance on health for sandwiches at lunch (51 percent) and dinner (53 percent). Convienence and portability are other key factors. Three out of every five sandwiches (61 percent) that consumers order are taken to go, and 49 percent of consumers sometimes purchase grab-and-go sandwiches.