Fresh Food

‘Deli and Bakery Are Holding Their Own’

Consumers seeking a ‘more economical’ restaurant-quality experience are finding solutions in grocery
bakery shoppers
Photograph: Shutterstock

“From a share category, deli and bakery are holding their own,” said Adam Brohimer, president of Category Partners, during a workshop at the IDDBA 2022 show.  

Citing NielsenIQ data for the 52 weeks ending April 30, Brohimer said the total perishable category, which includes seafood, deli, meat, produce, bakery and deli, sat at $313 billion. Drilled down, deli held 14.8% share and bakery 5.3% share.

The two categories are seeing prices accelerate as units decelerate. In bakery, prices were up 5.4% in the latest quarters vs. 1.5% in the prior three quarters, while units were up 8.7% in the latest quarter vs. 13.4%, according to NielsenIQ data. The story is similar in deli, with prices up 8.6% from 4% in the prior three quarters and units up 3.2% vs. 7.7%.

“[Units are] still increasing; there’s still a positive story, but it is slowing,” Brohimer said. 

Part of the positive story is shopper loyalty.

Idaho Falls-based Category Partners, a services-oriented entity that provides analysis within the fresh meat, deli, dairy, seafood, bakery and produce industries, surveyed 2,000 consumers and found that “shoppers seem to be more loyal to their stores for deli and bakery items vs. other grocery items,” Cara Ammon, SVP of research and market intel for Category Partners, said during the workshop.

Furthermore, the cooking-at-home trend is showing staying power as inflation continues to affect what consumers buy and how much. In a May Category Partners survey, 73% of respondents said they were eating at home more vs. 67% who said the same in November.

What’s more, consumers who want a restaurant-quality experience but a “more economical way of doing that” are flocking to their grocer’s deli departments for the answer, Brohimer said.

Category Partners’ survey data finds consumers are buying more often restaurant-replacement items such as rotisserie chicken, sliced meats and pizza. And in the bakery, doughnuts, muffins and bagels are an opportunity to appeal to grab-and-go shoppers, Brohimer said.

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