Food Stores Can Lure Lunch Crowd with Healthy Deli Meats

BY Rachel Cagle
Featured image for “Food Stores Can Lure Lunch Crowd with Healthy Deli Meats”

"While breakfast may have earned the moniker of “the most important meal of the day,” lunch is a key meal for today’s busy consumers to keep their blood sugar up throughout the day. And with lunch meat a convenient source of protein, whether it’s eaten on a sandwich, in a salad or on its own, it should be a lunchtime staple, says Nielsen."

"For retailers and manufacturers looking to reinvigorate the lunch meat category, connecting to other growing parts of the store, specifically fresh departments, could be a key opportunity. In a relatively flat U.S. FMCG market, fresh foods have driven almost $1.5 billion in sales gains over the past year. While deli lunch meat can be found in the same basket as other fresh categories that are growing, such as cheese, lettuce/​carrots and bakery bread, packaged lunch meats are associated with center store areas that are struggling. Packaged brands that can highlight fresh attributes and build new partnerships with other fresh categories could help build overall sales."

Deli/​Sandwich Shop Regulars are, in part, made up of the 5.6% of U.S. adults who eat these foods three to four times a week and another 4.5% who eat them more than five times every week, according to AudienceSCAN. The large number of Deli Shop Regulars, 34.1%, fall into the 25 to-​34-​year old age bracket. Nearly a quarter, 23.1%, of this audience has an annual household income of over $150,000.

"While today’s consumers are increasingly focused on fresh foods and healthier options, they’re also looking for convenience across categories and channels due to busy lifestyles. In the lunch meat category, grab ‘n go is on the rise, driving 11% of total deli bulk meat dollar sales."

According to AudienceSCAN, a personal goal of 22.4% of Deli/​Sandwich Shop Regulars is to eat healthier this year. Another 40.5% are also willing to pay more for higher quality on most products.

"Currently, 88% of grab ‘n go dollars are driven by the top five brands. But it’s private label that holds the largest share and saw sales rise even higher year-​over-​year. Private label is disrupting categories across the store and around the globe, and lunch meat is also being affected. Private label has a much bigger presence in deli lunch meat, but its share is gaining among packaged meats as well."

"More than half of all lunch meat shoppers (52%) are 'package-​heavy' buyers, meaning they spend at least 70% of their category dollars on packaged lunch meats. Comparatively, 29% are “deli-​heavy” buyers, spending at least the same share of their dollars at the deli counter. Despite being smaller in manpower, deli-​heavy buyers account for a greater proportion of dollars than packaged-​heavy buyers (43% vs. 40%)."

"To engage both of these shopper groups and drive growth across the category, retailers and manufacturers need to understand what’s driving them to buy. For both deli and packaged shoppers, meat type, flavor, price and size rank as the most important attributes all lunch meat shoppers consider. Beyond these utilitarian considerations, customizability and flavor are more important in the service deli while price and packaging considerations are more important in packaged. Therefore, messaging in the deli should center around quality and customizability, while packaged products need to be meticulous around price."

The best way to target Deli/​Sandwich Shop Regulars is through their TV sets. Last year, 79.5% of these consumers took action after seeing a TV commercial. Online and mobile videos are also a good targeting method since this group is 127% more likely than other adults to take action after seeing a pre-​roll video ad. Also, while they're online, use social media ads since 77.4% took action last year after seeing one.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.