Fresh Food

Transforming deli from afterthought to asset

Photograph: Shutterstock

Deli can create value for shoppers, but only if they know how to use it.  Tyson Foods has compiled a significant body of research to better understand the divide that exists between shoppers and the deli. In many of these studies, prepared foods shoppers said something was missing. Even when products were hot, fresh and available at peak shopping times, consumers still expressed a feeling of disconnect with the department:

Tyson Deli

The problem was that shoppers didn’t know how to use prepared foods to make convenient, satisfying meals for their families. But, when Tyson Foods showed them how to leverage the deli to their advantage, they began to understand it as an asset in time and cost savings for fresh meals and as a positive influence on family time together.

Participants in Tyson Foods’ Prepared Foods Challenge4 were inspired with new ways to shop for and use prepared foods in conjunction with other fresh ingredients from around the grocery store. This helped create a new dynamic around the dinner table, and elicited these responses from their family members:

  • "It's really good food, now that we know what we're doing and how to make it. We can sit down as a family and enjoy ourselves."
  • "Adding your own kind of thing to the prepared foods, it makes it homemade without all the effort."
  • "I like having dinner with my family. All of us are together."

Shoppers Tyson Deli

Why inspiration works

Inspiration says to shoppers: “You can count on this department and this store to have everything you need to help you plan, shop for and create an easy meal that you will be proud to serve.”  

Reaching out to shoppers with inspirational digital messages before they enter the store helps them understand that the deli is there to meet their needs, even before they start thinking, “What’s for dinner?”

Providing inspiration positions the deli as the valuable asset shoppers need instead of a last-minute afterthought.

Inspiration should also continue throughout the in-store experience. It welcomes the curious and invites questions. It sparks menu ideas through signage and staff resources. Inspiration helps shoppers discover that prepared foods can be part of a satisfying dinner experience and can be a game-changer for shoppers. As one might imagine, inspired shoppers can be good for a grocer’s bottom line, too. Here’s what happened in three recent Tyson Foods experiments that focused on inspirational messaging: 

  • Tyson Foods partnered with a retailer to create a multiplatform program that inspired shoppers on ways to incorporate prepared foods into their meals with quick and tasty ideas. The results were a lift in sales for both rotisserie chicken and overall prepared chicken.


  • In another retail partnership, Tyson Deli focused on digital education and inspiration surrounding professional football’s biggest game of the year. What resulted was a total chain increase in wing sales, with some divisions experiencing even bigger results.

Tyson Results 2

  • Another benchmark program that Tyson Deli piloted on Pinterest, where recipes are a top category, set standards for millions of impressions and a low cost-per-click. 

Results Tyson 3

Once shoppers learn to use prepared foods to make quick and delicious meals they can be proud to serve, their satisfaction is likely to increase and become a strong indicator of future visits to the department and the store itself.

Find out more about the unique ways Tyson Deli is approaching prepared foods at https://www.tysonvelocity.com/exclusive60   


1) Tyson Foods, Retailer Collaboration Program, 2017

2) Tyson Foods, Walmart Big Game Digital Program, 2017

3) Tyson Foods, Pinterest Program, 2017

4) Tyson Foods, Prepared Foods Challenge, 2016

This post is sponsored by Tyson Foods, Deli Division