Evidence that consumers are spending more time in the kitchen is as close as a peek at the sales figures scored by packaged deli meats. The total dollar sales of these products grew 6% in the last year to $5.3 billion at the retail level. Phil Lempert, writing for Facts, Figures & The Future, reminds readers that 704143_cold_sandwichpackaged cold cuts offers consumers three key advantages: convenience, savings and variety. According to Lampert, consumers who can no longer afford to eat lunch out or purchase school lunches for their kids are turning to the supermarket for packaged deli meats.

Sales by category increased as follows:

  • Lunch meat Deli Pouches – Refrigerated +8%
  • Lunch meat non-sliced  – Refrigerated +2.7%
  • Lunch meat sliced – Refrigerated +5.1%

Lempert uses Nielsen Company data to reveal that private label lunchmeat sales increased 12.9% while the increase for branded products was 4.9%. The only category where branded product sales increases outpaced private label product increases was refrigerated deli pouch lunch meat (+8.6%). In general, these products include bologna, salami, ham and liverwurst. The data indicate these products have wide appeal as ¾’s of U.S. consumers purchased refrigerated sliced deli meat in the past year.

Consumers may well continue to spend on packaged deli meats as job losses mount and economic pressures stress family budgets. Supermarkets and mass merchandisers that carry grocery lines can boost sales of lunch meats and related products with marketing programs such as coupons and attractive in-store displays that feature bread, rolls, and condiments such as relish and mustard located near packaged cold cuts.

[Source: Lempert, Phil. Cold Cuts are Hot. Facts, Figures and The Future, October 2009]