May 15, 2017


These shoppers were ready to give up on their grocer's prepared foods, but then, everything changed. Isn't it time you joined the conversation?

Last month we met the Keeley family of Warrenville, Illinois in the first installment of our Exclusive :60 series. They are one of several families Tyson Foods invited 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, every one of the families expressed dissatisfaction that this was not the fun adventure they expected, but 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 why deli is broken due to 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 we are failing our shoppers and point to what we must change to better connect with them as well as how we 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.

In this month's Exclusive :60, we'll revisit the Keeleys and also meet the Ramirez family, as they gather 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'll follow along as they shop with Chef Charlie, who will show them how to complement prepared foods like rotisserie chicken with other fresh food ingredients in other areas of the store. We'll observe the families learning how to connect prepared foods to other SKUs that have always been in the grocery store but may never have been in their consideration sets as part of a prepared foods purchase. Ultimately, we'll see them discover how the "broken deli" can be transformed to their advantage, and that they can be inspired to create complete meal solutions.

We must learn how to educate our shoppers about the options available to them and how to provide ideas that inspire them to be creative with their meal planning and preparation. We'll have more on that in future briefings, and also take a closer look at who our shoppers are and why that should matter to us.

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? Check out this month's Exclusive :60 and discover why we must change the conversation about prepared foods.


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