May 15, 2019


In a recent briefing, we revealed the results of a Tyson Foods experiment in which some high profile thought leaders from well-recognized brands outside deli observed and provided feedback about the deli department.1 Taking pages from their own successful playbooks, experts from Disney, Nike, Shinola, United Airlines, Second City, and Farmer’s Fridge offered candid advice about several long range goals we should implement. They also drew focus to the more immediate issues, urging that it’s time to put shoppers in the driver’s seat of the shopping experience.

This month, we’re taking a step beyond those initial findings to consider the idea of time as a commodity with value. While our own research supports the need for reform, we also know that change is more than a simple matter of “handing over the keys” to shoppers.2 It’s about creating an experience that facilitates their shopping experience and leads to memorable, satisfying meals. 

Taking a look at our departments through the eyes of visionaries from other industries has allowed us to gain new insights about our own challenges and opportunities. It has affirmed our emerging observations that deli’s basic premise is still about offering some prepared ingredients that automatically saves shoppers the time they desire to have with loved ones. But it also draws focus to deli’s consistent disconnect with consumers.

We should do more to educate and inspire shoppers how to create easy meals their family will love using prepared foods with SKUs from other areas of the store. When that happens, deli becomes a time saver instead of a time waster. 

The experts suggested, and Tyson Foods research agrees, that if we can make some core improvements that directly affect the shopping experience, consumer satisfaction with deli will soar. We must go beyond deli’s basic premise and recognize that shoppers have different missions that bring them into the store, and be ready with inspirational ideas that best use the deli to meet their needs. 

What would make deli a better value proposition for shoppers? Click on this month’s Exclusive :60 for a one-minute overview of the top three inspirational ideas to deliver the value of time and help put your shoppers in the driver’s seat of a better deli experience.

An Easy Fix?

If deli’s mission is about more than providing convenience; if its purpose is also to add value to the shopping experience, the basic premise of deli needs to change. To deliver the real value shoppers seek, we must begin to recognize and adapt to their needs and missions. We can no longer complacently offer the “thing-in-a-box” and expect shoppers to figure it out. 

Some fixes may take time, but there’s much that can be done right now. In fact, the thought leaders from outside deli stressed the urgency of time in making core improvements in the very short term in order to be able to compete with the likes of Amazon, delivery and convenience. 

Ultimately, our goal must be to provide the tools - from inspirational meal ideas to educational recipes, product availability and staff assistance– so shoppers can have the experience they seek from us. We want them to be proud to serve their families a satisfying meal featuring prepared foods from the deli with other ingredients from around the store.

How do we show shoppers we value their time and have the solutions they need to feed their families satisfying meals featuring prepared foods? Check out three easy solutions in one quick minute, 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, Vision Project, 2018
2. Tyson Foods, Emotional Trigger Study, 2017; Tyson Foods, Prepared Foods Challenge, 2016; Tyson Foods, Attitudes and Usage Study, 2015; Tyson Foods, Awareness, Trial, Repurchase, 2016; Tyson Foods, Consequences of Failure, 2015, 2016; Tyson Foods, In-Store Observation Study, 2016; Tyson Foods, Unconventional Shopper Connections, 2017-2018; Tyson Foods, Walmart Big Game Digital Program, 2017; Tyson Foods, Pinterest Program, 2017; Tyson Foods, Retailer Collaboration Program, 2017