Retail Foodservice

How To Educate and Inspire Shoppers

Photograph: Tyson Foods, Deli Division

Tyson Foods invited several families to take the Prepared Foods Challenge4, making dinner every night for a week using prepared foods from local grocery stores. But by the end of the first night, each of the families expressed dissatisfaction that this was not the fun adventure they expected, but rather a full-blown prepared foods failure.

The problems started when the participants arrived at the store and looked at what was being displayed in the prepared foods department. It got worse when they brought the food home and tasted it. The dismal results they experienced illustrate that deli is broken, backed up by a disturbing trend of failures encountered by nearly half of all prepared foods shoppers in recent Tyson studies3. But, the results also reveal important clues as to why grocery stores are failing shoppers and point to what retailers and suppliers must change to better connect with them, as well as how grocers can foster more planned purchases and deliver a more satisfying prepared foods experience1,2,3,4.

On day four of the Prepared Foods Challenge, something amazing happened to the families' perspectives of prepared foods, and we should take notice. Just one new element was introduced and it changed everything for the families, inspiring them to become more involved with their prepared foods experience. It wasn't new equipment or new products, just a new focus on shopper- and meal-centric solutions.

The families gathered around their kitchen tables with a personal chef to talk about the kinds of foods they like and how to build themes and menus. We followed along as they shopped with Chef Charlie, who showed them how to complement prepared foods like rotisserie chicken with fresh food ingredients in other areas of the store. We observed the families learning how to connect prepared foods to other products that have always been in the grocery store but may have not been on the shoppers’ radar as part of a prepared foods purchase. Ultimately, we saw them discover how the "broken deli" can be transformed to their advantage, and that they can be inspired to create complete meal solutions.

Grocers must learn how to educate their shoppers about the options available to them and how to provide ideas that inspire them to be creative with their meal planning and preparation. The Prepared Foods Challenge is just one example of how shoppers are asking us to fix the broken deli. Isn't it about time we listened?


1 Tyson Foods, On the Go Study, 2015
2 Tyson Foods, Emotional Trigger Study, 2016
3 Tyson Foods, Consequences of Failure, 2015 and 2016
4 Tyson Foods, Prepared Foods Challenge, June 2016

This post is sponsored by Tyson Foods, Deli Division