Sushi overtakes sandwich staples to finally become mainstream snack

8 Sep 2011

Oriental delicacy sushi is now so popular in the UK that it has become the UK’s fastest growing lunchtime snack. Demand has grown so much that sushi has even replaced both the ploughman’s and tuna and cucumber sandwiches as one of Britain’s favourite lunchtime snacks.

Oriental delicacy sushi is now so popular in the UK that it has become the UK’s fastest growing lunchtime snack.  Demand has grown so much that sushi has even replaced both the ploughman’s and tuna and cucumber sandwiches as one of Britain’s favourite lunchtime snacks.

In the last year sushi sales in the UK have increased by more than 21 per cent across all retailers (AC Nielsen July 2011) with Tesco leading the market selling an astonishing 30 million packs every year.   Brits’ favourite sushi varieties are nigiri (rice with a piece of fish on it); prawn rolls; smoked salmon, cucumber and red pepper rolls.

Said Tesco sushi range developer Kathryn Bettles: “Sushi used to be considered the preserve of foodies but it is has now become a mainstream popular snack for many people around the UK, rivaling some of our most popular sandwiches. Over the last five years it has been steadily growing in popularity and overtaking longtime sandwich favourites such as the ploughman’s plus tuna and cucumber sarnies.  This underlines just how popular it is now. It recently made an appearance in Eastenders.  You can’t get any more mainstream than that!”

The concept of sushi actually began about 500 BC when south east Asians found that raw fish could be preserved by placing it between vinagared rice.  The process is believed to have arrived in Japan in about 600 AD and grew to be a delicacy.

Modern sushi, as we know it, originated in the 19th century when a street food stall holder in the Japanese city of Edo, now Tokyo, shaped vinegared rice with his hands and then added a slice of raw fish on the top.  It became an immediate hit and demand grew quickly throughout Japan to become the culinary artform it has become today.  The seaweed – or nori – which is still used today was later added to prevent fingers from getting sticky.

Besides being a tasty snack, sushi is also nutritious with the strip of salmon commonly used on the top of it full of goodness.  Salmon, which is considered a superfood, is an excellent source of omega 3 which helps maintain a healthy heart.

It’s also a good source of vitamins, in particular vitamin E, which is an antioxidant helping to protect cell membranes and keep skin healthy while supporting the immune system.

Tesco sells 14 different varieties of sushi.