On average, Americans make 65 trips to the supermarket per year, with dairy/deli/bakery included in 61% of store baskets. As consumers increasingly shop the perimeter, it is critical retailers address three key consumer trends in these departments, according to the International Dairy Deli Baker Association.
Trend No. 1: Experiential foods
Customers are looking for foods that create a memorable and positive experience. In the deli, this can be seen in the exploding popularity of charcuterie boards. These versatile, “party ready” platters are easy to prepare, visually appealing and make for a fun conversation piece, but they can also be edited for a fun, everyday experience. For example, charcuterie “shots”—a few pieces of meat, cheese and pickled veggies served on a toothpick—are a quick adult snack that works equally well for kids’ lunches.
Other experiential trends include upgrades in dessert offerings, such as bakery cakes that “pop out” of the case. Bakeries are also partnering with spirits companies to create alcohol-infused confections, while cheeses can be paired with wine and craft beers to attract a new audience. Creative takes on spreadable cheeses and butters as gift items for the holiday season are also en vogue.
Trend No. 2: Expectation
Convenience drives the expectation trend. “Snackable” and “poppable” foods such as snack kits, “better bites” and dippable churro cups are examples that meet consumer expectation in this space. One of the largest growth areas in the deli, however, is prepared foods such as entreés and prepared meats. Rotisserie and fried chicken make up nearly one-third of this $12 billion supermarket category.
Consumers also want more from their food in terms of functionality. Items that offer additional health benefits such as yogurt, sourdough bread and clean, hormone-free meats are on the upswing.
Trend No. 3: Simplicity
This trend spans several aspects and is more than a decade in the making, according to IDBBA. Motivated by lifestyle factors such as weight management and improved overall health, consumers are demanding a return to simple, holistic ingredients they can pronounce and understand. Labels such as non-GMO, organic, high protein and gluten-free strongly resonate with health-conscious consumers.
One-third of Americans eat meatless diets at least one or two days per week, while 60% are interested in consuming less meat in general. As such, plant-based innovation is no longer a trend, it’s a full-blown movement. Meat substitutes, vegan dairy alternatives and other plant-based offerings played a strong role at this year’s IDBBA show.
A perfect storm
One product—which meets all three drivers—stood out at IDBBA 2019. Daily Kneads makes vegetable-infused sliced breads and flatbreads which contain a full serving of vegetables in every serving. Placing the functionality of its products front and center meets the expectation trend, while highlighting whole grains and simple foods demonstrates simplicity. Featured ingredients such as beets and carrots are displayed prominently on packaging, adding to the experiential factor, which has been a hit with younger consumers. Daily Kneads first partnered with university foodservice operations, where the brand had phenomenal success and built a strong following.