With demand for convenience, premium and charcuterie all peaking, deli party trays check all three boxes and continue to be a hot seller for retailers.

Demand for deli party trays always picks up in the fall for retailer The Fresh Market, thanks to back-to-school and the beginning of tailgating season, said Diane Cleven, the chain’s vice president of deli/CMS/sushi/bakery.

“It’s a busy time of year for our guests, and they love the convenience of ordering ahead and being able to pick up a quick deli party tray,” she said. “We’re also seeing good increases in smaller grab and go trays that are available to go in stores.”

The Fresh Market stocks more than 20 different types of party trays and platters, ranging from wings, to charcuterie, to sandwiches and pinwheels, to fruit and veggie platters, to its newest party tray – appropriately called The Party Meal.

The Party Meal, Cleven said, is a great example of how The Fresh Market is staying on top of trends.

It includes a choice of the chain’s Chicken Salad Slider Tray or Ham & Cheese Slider Tray; a choice of a Pepperoni Pinwheel Appetizer Tray or Caprese Appetizer Tray; and one of each of the following: The Fresh Market’s famous Made in House Guacamole, Tortilla Chips and Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies.

“Bundling our trays together like this for a value price allows our guests to try a variety of what we have available. We’re always evolving our trays and platters to reflect the needs of and feedback from our guests,” Cleven said. “That’s why many of our platters come in both small and large sizes to accommodate whatever type of crowd our guests are hosting.”

At the height of COVID, The Fresh Market changed its mix to include many more small trays and catering items. Now that things are more back to normal, the chain is once again focused on larger trays for larger gatherings, Cleven said.

Fruit trays are the biggest tray sellers for The Fresh Market, followed by crudité trays, she added. Beyond that, it depends on what the season is. All Fresh Market trays are made fresh in-store.

This article is an excerpt from the October 2023 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Party Trays feature and more in the digital edition here.