Delis Grow in Popularity

The demand for premade meal options has accelerated interest in the deli counter.

May 09, 2016

NEW YORK CITY – Consumer demand for fresh, premade, convenient meals has fueled growth in the deli department, Supermarket News reports. Nielsen Perishables Group finds that the deli has a large role in top retailers, who use the counter as destinations for fresh, premade meals.

The deli department has morphed beyond pizza and chicken into showcases of fresh-prepared foods, such as salads and beef entrees. That change has resulted in an uptick in terms of both dollar and volume. During the 52 weeks ending Feb. 27, the average deli dollar sales per store per week jumped 5.8%, while volume sales advanced 3.9%. Those numbers were the result of sales bumps in deli-prepared foods, which increased average dollar sales of 6.7% and volume sales of 2% during the same time period. Deli meats and cheeses continued to register steady growth.

Top deli entrees include pasta, franks and dinner sausages, and beef (such as meatloaf and steak), with the latter being the most significant driver of category growth. Mexican and Asian entrees also exhibited strong dollar advances during that time period.

Grocery delis are fighting off competition from restaurants, meal/grocery delivery services and convenience stores, which shows how popular fresh prepared foods have become across multiple channels. Retailers selling fresh premade meals should consider catering, offering premium items and fast, complete meal solutions to capture consumer dollars.