However, Booker, one the country's leading wholesalers which supplies thousands of corner shops and small convenience stores, has developed a new range of sandwiches with a 14-day shelf life.
Ray Boggiana, the food technologist who helped develop the range, said that lettuce and tomatoes has been left out as they had a tendency to go soggy. Otherwise, most of the secret to the long shelf life was down to basic food technology: removing the oxygen from the packaging and replacing it with nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
"The science is not new. It's all about using a protective atmosphere in the packaging. It's the same technology that is used in packaged sliced meats," he said, adding that sandwiches with a two-week shelf life were quite common in America.
The only other trick is to mix the main ingredients in a mayonnaise, which stops the fillings from deteriorating.
He insisted they tasted exactly the same after 14 days as they did after one.
Steve Fox, the sales director of retail at Booker, said: “They look and taste great and with a longer shelf life than most sandwiches, they are ideal to reduce retailers' wastage."
Rose Prince, food writer and Daily Telegraph columnist, said she was depressed at the very thought of the sandwiches. "Why? Why make something that could last for such a long time? Is this for people planning to pack a sarnie on a trip to scale Mount Everest?
"Food technology has its limits. It is not the answer to everything. Bread just doesn't cope well when refrigerated, it tends to go hard. I dread to think what they've done to stop it turning into a rock."
By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Editor
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