April 08, 2019


What kinds of messages are we sending to prepared foods consumers? The results of Tyson Foods’ Prepared Foods Challenge revealed two basic flaws of traditional messaging. One is that most retailers have failed to harness the power of communication showing consumers HOW to use the prepared foods department. The second flaw of traditional messaging is that it focuses on product and price, which neither educates nor inspires shoppers to create meals they can be proud to serve.1

We wondered what would happen if we tweaked the message. If shoppers knew how to use the department, would they be able to create meals that inspire? Would equipping them with educational tools to make easy, delicious meals featuring prepared foods empower them to shop the deli more frequently? 

To test our theory, Tyson Foods partnered with a leading food retailer, collaborating with their consumer marketing, merchandising, and digital teams in more than 160 stores as test sites.2 

For three months, the program focused on in-store and out-of-store communication. It highlighted the ease of using prepared foods to assemble convenient meals that deliver freshness and quality. The comprehensive campaign included store signage and free recipe cards coupled with digital assets such as social media, website integration, magazine advertorials, emails and highly targeted mobile and online advertising.

Prior to the program start, rotisserie chicken sales were trending down -12%. By the campaign end, they were up +5%.

Impressive Results

We set an aggressive campaign goal to increase sales and volume by at least 1.5 percent, at full margin. Our objective was to reach that goal by showing shoppers how to use the department to create meals that inspire, instead of focusing on product and price. Turns out, this minor messaging tweak to foster awareness and educate shoppers was a game-changer. 

By campaign end, prepared chicken and rotisserie sales grew an average of seven percent and three percent, respectively. Digital advertising specifically drove overall lift, with more than 27 million impressions and 85,000 visits to the store’s website. During the program, Tyson digital content accounted for 40% of all page views on the retailer's website. Clearly, creating awareness and educating consumers on the uses and value of prepared foods made it forefront in their consideration set for purchase. 

Click on this month’s Exclusive :60 for a one-minute overview of the specific sales lift numbers that demonstrate how this in-store program, powered with digital communication, created awareness and changed shopper behavior beyond expectations, both in the prepared foods department and throughout the entire store. 

Everyone Gets a Trophy

Deli shoppers weren’t the only ones who benefitted from this particular experiment. There were valuable learnings during the process for both retailers and suppliers to develop more meaningful conversations with consumers. 

Besides the impressive sales lift results, one of the most significant takeaways from this campaign was that the participating stores outpaced the retailer’s average growth in both rotisserie chicken and prepared chicken overall. This clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of coordinated messaging to drive incremental sales at full margin, and signals a new kind of collaborative approach to the retailer and manufacturer partnership. It is one that the retailer now considers a model for other suppliers and categories moving forward.

This month’s Exclusive :60 shows the actual sales lift numbers from an in-store program, powered with digital communication, that created awareness and changed shopper behavior beyond expectations, both in the prepared foods department and throughout the entire store. 

This experiment illustrates the commitment of Tyson Foods Deli Division in finding creative approaches to deli challenges. Learn more about Changing the Conversation and connect with the Tyson Deli team to find out more about the cool ways Tyson Foods is helping grow the prepared foods business for our customers at the speed they need, in a direction that makes an impact.

1. Tyson Foods, Prepared Foods Challenge, 2016
2. Tyson Foods, Retailer Collaboration Program, 2017