March 15, 2019


Tyson Foods’ deli division marketing team has uncovered some fundamental issues with how prepared foods departments message to consumers both in and out of store. 

The results of our Prepared Foods Challenge experiment revealed basic flaws in traditional shopper messaging that focuses on product and price. This illustrates that consumers need to be taught how to use the prepared foods department.1

You might have noticed by now that Tyson Foods looks for innovative approaches to uncover new insights and yield better results for prepared foods consumers and the departments that serve them.2 

With this in mind, we sought a retail partnership to help test a theory:

Hypothesis: If the prepared foods target audience knows HOW to use the department to create meals that inspire, they will shop the department more frequently.

Tyson partnered with a retailer, launching a program in hundreds of stores across four states as the test sites. We worked with their internal shopper marketing, merchandising, and digital teams, essentially serving as an extension of their internal marketing department.3 


Can Tweaking the Message Increase Sales?

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. 

Every indicator suggested that this minor messaging tweak could be a game-changer. Once shoppers are educated and inspired to use prepared foods to make quick and delicious meals they could be proud to serve, their satisfaction with the department and the store itself would go up and be a strong indicator of future visits.

If you have it, tell them you have it, and then tell them what to do with it.

What unfolded was a comprehensive, three-month program for in-store and out-of-store communication. The campaign highlighted the ease of using prepared foods to assemble convenient meals that deliver freshness and quality. It included store signage, as well as digital assets such as social media, website integration, magazine advertorial, email, and highly targeted mobile and online advertising. 

While all of these components promoted the program’s outreach and popularity with consumers, there were three key ingredients that ensured its success. We’ll review them in this month’s Exclusive :60.

The results exceeded objectives and further demonstrated the effectiveness of coordinated messaging to drive incremental sales at full margin, signaling 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. 

Next month, we’ll share the sales lift numbers that prove 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.

This experiment illustrates the commitment of Tyson Foods Deli Division in finding creative approaches to deli challenges. This month’s Exclusive :60 outlines the three key ingredients that ensured the success of this program and demonstrates that creating awareness and educating shoppers on the uses and value of prepared foods makes it forefront in their consideration sets for purchase.

Learn more about Changing the Conversation and connect with the Tyson Deli team to find out more about how Tyson Foods is doing a lot of cool things to help 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, Food Quest, 2018; Tyson Foods, Unconventional Shopper Connections, 2017-18; Tyson Foods, Emotional Trigger Study, 2017; Tyson Foods, Pinterest Program, 2017; Tyson Foods, Awareness, Trial, Repurchase, 2016; Tyson Foods, On the Go Study, 2014
3. Tyson Foods, Retailer Collaboration Program, 2017