Fresh Food

Shoppers Come Back to Morning Routines—and the Deli Counter

As consumers return to the office, commutes and school drop-offs, here’s how the deli department can capitalize on opportunity.
Photograph: Shutterstock

The pandemic brought upon an array of behavioral changes for both consumers and retailers alike. One department of the store that may have seen a change in traffic was the deli counter; consumers were grocery shopping more, but many stores shuttered their deli and prepared foods departments—according to data from IRI, deli prepared foods sales were down 37% during the week of March 29, 2020.

Now, however, as consumers head back to offices and families gear up to send their kids back to school and summer events in person, the deli counter is poised to see an uptick in sales, thanks to customers returning to routine staples such as making sandwiches from home or packing breakfast to eat on-the-go.

Of course, the deli is known for more than just sandwich meat, so here are some great tips for ensuring customer satisfaction with the deli counter in this post-pandemic age.

Maintain variety

Shoppers have spent the last several months eating a rotation of their favorite grocery-store meals, so it’s only natural that nowadays, they’ll be looking for something new to try. Retailers should be sure to offer a mixture of familiar favorites as well as new and exciting deli options. Meats infused with spicy flavors or global influences, for instance, can be a big hit among consumers who want to take a walk on the wilder side, while an array of veggie, pasta and other side dishes ensure they are still able to put a tasty meal together for their families without repeating the same foods too often.

Stock familiar brands and favorite foods

While some consumers may be on the hunt for exciting new foods and flavors, other shoppers will be looking for their favorite brands and foods. Retailers should be sure to keep stocking top-selling items from the brands their consumers love—deli turkey and ham, for example; popular cheeses such as provolone and pepper Jack; and prepared options such as Buffalo wings, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and more are all customer favorites that hungry shoppers will still be craving.

Promise freshness

According to Technomic’s 2020 Sandwich Consumer Trend Report, consumers report that meat/protein quality is the most important aspect of a sandwich, and so for retailers, it’s crucial to be able to ensure freshness both when it comes to storing the meats in the deli case as well as when customers take home their purchases.

Packaging matters—when choosing the packaging to use for whole turkey breasts or hams, for instance, or bricks of cheese, retailers should look for reliable, flexible plastic products including shrink bags (perfect for processed meats and cheeses), sealable pouches and more.

TC Transcontinental Packaging is proud to offer an array of deli counter packaging that retailers will find to be more than satisfactory. What’s more, many of TC Transcontinental Packaging’s products are sustainable choices, making them an even better option for retailers and concerned consumers.

To learn more about packaging for deli counter products, including Hot N Handy® rotisserie chicken pouches, Fresh N Tasty® produce pouches, shrink bags for meat and cheese and more, visit www.tc.tc/packaging

This post is sponsored by TC Transcontinental Packaging

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