Summary of “How the sandwich consumed Britain”

“There’s no small-talk. It’s all action.” By 1990, the British sandwich industry was worth £1bn. A young economics graduate named Roger Whiteside was in charge of the M&S sandwich department by then.
One of the great strengths of the sandwich over the centuries has been how naturally it grafts on to our lives, enabling us to walk, read, take the bus, work, dream and scan our devices at the same time as feeding ourselves with the aid of a few small rotational gestures of wrist and fingers.
“It is sometimes hard to tell how much has changed with our sandwich consumption, because we feel really nostalgic towards them,” Bee Wilson, the food writer, told me.
It takes a certain type of mind to really innovate between two pieces of bread. Isabella “Mrs” Beeton arguably designed the first avant-garde sandwich, in 1861, with her “Toast Sandwich” – a piece of toast, seasoned with salt and pepper, between two pieces of bread – but for most of the 19th and 20th centuries, the sandwich was what it was.
In postwar Britain, in particular, the sandwich – bread dry after hours on display, a sad mess inside – came to express a kind of culinary hopelessness.
Greencore, which grew out of Ireland’s former state-owned sugar beet industry, has eight facilities in Britain and a large US business, and claims to be the largest sandwich maker in the world.
Large-scale sandwich making is fearsomely complicated and operates on tiny profit margins.
As a result, most sandwich factories have relied on immigrant labour for at least a decade; in 2014, the news that Greencore was recruiting in Hungary prompted an infamous Daily Mail headline, which asked: “IS THERE NO ONE LEFT IN BRITAIN WHO CAN MAKE A SANDWICH?” According to the BSA, about 75% of people in the sandwich and cafe sector in the capital are from overseas; in the rest of the country, it’s 40%. For Chahar, who dreams of introducing the sandwich to Algeria, it is a baffling situation.

The orginal article.