Supermarket Delis Supply Value and Meals for Busy Shoppers

Service delis are saving the day – and often the evening – for time-strapped consumers searching for convenient meals and snacks, according to What’s in Store 2013, the annual trends publication from the International Dairy•Deli•Bakery Association (IDDBA).

Americans are busier than ever and on the hunt for value as the shaky economy requires. Dinner was nearly an afterthought for a third of respondents in a 2012 Tyson/Progressive Grocer retail study. More than a quarter of those shoppers visit the supermarket at least once a week just to get something for dinner that night. Price and value are the top factors for most deli shoppers.

It’s apparent those harried shoppers are getting help from the in-store deli. Two-thirds of deli purchases include cold, pre-packaged, to-go foods. Hot deli food sales are generally from a smaller percentage of shoppers more familiar with those products, according to NPD Group. More than a third of shoppers said they desire more ready-to-eat meal items in their supermarket, according to a Packaged Facts survey. More Americans than ever are looking to save money on meals, often bringing breakfast, lunch, and snacks from home during the work week.

Consumers averaged 15 shopping trips per year to the deli in the 52 weeks ending September 29, 2012, according to Nielsen Perishables Group. The average amount spent in the deli is $8.48 with a total basket size of $61.37. Dinner isn’t the only meal that in-store delis are catering for customers. Breakfast sales grew 29% and the deli snacks category grew nearly 23%, more than any other deli department day part category, in the 52-week period ending November 29, 2012, according to Nielsen Perishables Group.

“The gourmet foodie who’s looking for the easy solution, but wants a high-quality solution, is grabbing their crackers and specialty deli meats and cheeses and it’s all in one location, so they’re not going to the aisles to get their crackers,” Paisley Peterson, analyst, Nielsen Perishables Group, told the IDDBA. “They’re easily able to pick up everything they need in one quick stop.” Smaller snack categories, like crackers, pretzels, and popcorn also saw double-digit growth.

The most frequent deli shoppers are females, ages 25-34, and those with incomes between $75,000 and $99,999, according to Mintel’s The Deli Consumer — U.S. Hispanics and families with two children also shop at the in-store deli with the most frequency. The most popular items for purchase every time or most of the time, in terms of net purchases, are lunch meat (e.g., ham, turkey, roast beef, cold cuts), cheese, and prepared chicken (rotisserie and fried). In terms of net purchases, cold salads are purchased the least often, Mintel found.


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