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    New Year, New Trends

    Give consumers what they want at the in-store deli

    Customization. Wellness. Easy preparation. Value. Cleanliness. Taste. Specialties. These are all trends that should be guiding your deli planning and operations in the coming year.

    That’s according to the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association, whose recently released What’s in Store 2014 draws on trend information, industry reporting, market data and consumer insights to help supermarket deli operators position themselves for success.

    For example, grocery store delis ought to be looking at other channels for ideas on how to cash in on consumer buying habits. Customizable menu options at fast-casual restaurants have been very successful, Mintel Category Manager Julia Gallo-Torres told IDDBA. “This made-to-order model also elicits the perception of food that is fresher and healthier,” Gallo-Torres asserted.

    That presents a huge opportunity for in-store delis to jump on the meal solution bandwagon. Cost and value (for nine out of 10 customers, IDDBA says) are two key reasons consumers purchase retailer meal solutions at the in-store deli instead of visiting restaurants.

    Meanwhile, a resurging interest in cooking at home comes in tandem with changes in what constitutes cooking, opening an opportunity for delis to appeal to the new way consumers are preparing meals at home.

    It should come as no surprise that scratch cooking isn’t the norm – anyone in the industry drawing a breath knows that hasn’t been the case for some time. But with shopper desire to become more involved in food preparation, retailers can offer cooking and product demos to enhance interactions with their customers.

    In fact, “assembly” is looked on as cooking these days, and supermarket delis provide innovative ways to offer simple, tasty ingredients or foods for meals or snacks that meet the needs of several demographics.

    Cost, Value and Something Special

    Folks are also looking at cost and value in their deli purchases. “As pricing slightly declined and promotions were more effective, deli specialty meat impressions [unique SKUs sold] per store per week rose 10.9 percent,” Chris Zagorski, an analyst for Nielsen Perishables Group, told IDDBA.

    Specialty deli meat experienced the largest increase in dollars and volume, helped by increased sales in the salami category. As consumers explore higher quality forms of deli meat, such as charcuterie they might see in restaurants (or the bounty available at Chicago’s new Eataly), they do so within their budgets, often leading them to peg rack specialty meats merchandised near specialty cheeses, Zagorski said.

    What else is hot? Latin cuisine. Mediterranean food beyond Italy and Greece to Morocco and up through the Middle East.

    Stay on trend, stay relevant, stay profitable. Get to it, deli operators – there’s a big year ahead.

     

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