September 18, 2019


There is a big difference between what we’ve been selling in deli – products – and what consumers want. They have one mission when visiting the department: to find an easy meal solution they can be proud to serve to their families.

Meanwhile, we’re often still focused on innovations, product selection or price cuts.1 Wouldn’t it be easier to realign our objectives to meet shopper’s needs instead of missing out on opportunities for repeat sales and overall store satisfaction?

Most consumers agree that prepared foods are easy and convenient, but an assortment of random deli products misses the mark when it comes to satisfaction. They see the department as a place to get a quick grab-and-go meal or snack, but it really isn’t in their consideration sets when they want to serve their family and friends a dinner they will actually enjoy.2


It’s not surprising that consumers can’t decide what’s for dinner, even when the clock is ticking during the late afternoon “dinner decision” hour. They are stuck in the loop of the broken deli messaging that limits their choices:


It’s time to change the message to one that positions prepared foods as part of a satisfying meal solution. It’s time to meet the needs of consumers on a human scale.

What Makes a “Proud to Serve” Meal?

Consumers have made it clear. They want a meal they are proud to serve, that satisfies their family, and transitions a hectic day.3 Meanwhile, they reject the offerings of the one-size-fits-all deli as it does little to provide meal experiences they desire.4

Shoppers want to make easy and satisfying meals featuring prepared foods, but they need help with planning, shopping and meal prep. They need resources such as:

  • Meal ideas that will please their family members with picky palettes and different preferences
  • Meal solutions that are easy and convenient
  • Time savers in the kitchen
  • Different options with flexibility5

Positioning Prepared Foods as Part of a Satisfying Meal

Here’s where need meets opportunity. What would happen if we were to show shoppers how to use the department and equip them with educational tools so they can make easy, delicious meals featuring prepared foods? Could it empower them to create meals that they are proud to serve? Would that inspire them to shop the deli more frequently? How might that affect department sales?

Tyson Foods recently partnered with a leading food retailer6 to put this idea to the test and found that changing the conversation could be measured in sales lift. The three-month campaign focused primarily on in-store and out-of-store communications with the main message being the ease of using prepared foods to assemble convenient meals that deliver freshness and quality.



This experiment also proved that connecting consumers with resources that make their shopping trips easier and meals more enjoyable serves a greater purpose than simply meeting their needs. It positioned the deli as a valuable asset and lifted sales across the department and throughout the store.

In this month’s Exclusive :60, we’ll review the satisfying statistics those simple messaging changes can deliver, plus we learn how easy it is to position prepared foods as part of a meal solution shoppers can be proud to serve.

Changing the conversation delivers a different message, but utilizes the same communication methods most retailers are already using such as store signage, recipe cards, social media, emails and online advertising. It simply changes the message from focusing on products and price to messaging that inspires and educates.

We know what to do. We have the extensive research, substantial feedback and impressive statistics that show the way forward. Discover how effective changing the conversation can be in this month’s Exclusive :60.

Tyson Foods Deli Division is committed to developing and sharing creative approaches to deli’s challenges. Learn more about Changing the Conversation and connect with the Tyson Deli team to find out more about the remarkable 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: Awareness, Trial, Repurchase, 2016
2. Tyson Foods, On The Go Foodservice Study, 2015
3. Tyson Foods, Emotional Trigger Study, 2017; On the Go Study, 2015; Prepared Foods Challenge, 2016; Unconventional Shopper Connections, 2017
4. Tyson Foods, Unconventional Shopper Connections, 2017-2018
5. Tyson Foods, On the Go Study, 2015; Unconventional Shopper Connections, 2017
6. Tyson Foods, Retailer Collaboration Program, 2017