Protein is an important part of the human diet and is a staple in supermarket delis. Consumer demand for protein is on the rise, too. According to data gathered by Global Food Forums, Inc., more than 70 percent of adults in the United States stress the importance of protein. Moreover, more than half of the participants in a recent health and wellness study claim to want to incorporate more protein into their diets.
At odds with those consumer demands are rising prices and declining volumes for certain proteins, including fresh pork and beef.
The challenge, then, becomes learning how to reconcile those polarizing issues and continue to experience success in your instore deli.
In 2014 in supermarkets in the United States, deli luncheon meat generated sales amounting to $1.12 billion.
That is the good news. The not-so-good news is that also in 2014, fresh pork and beef experienced large volume declines and steep price increases, and prices for these commodities are expected to continue climbing. According to Nielsen pricing research, the price increases for many beef and pork cuts has already exceeded the price point at which consumers become reluctant to purchase. These purchase declines have a ripple effect into the deli and other areas of the store, too, causing a decline in the purchase of complementary products: rice, pasta, vegetables, condiments, packaged dinners, etc.
Fortunately, the price of chicken has remained relatively stable, and consumers who traditionally would have purchased pork or beef are instead turning to chicken. Another way consumers are coping with rising meat prices is switching to a different cut of a particular protein or opting for non-meat proteins.
Due to the rising prices of certain meats as well as consumer dietary preferences – everything from gluten free to paleo to vegan – it is important to offer non-meat proteins in your deli, too. Both soy and whey proteins have been popular for years and are continuing to grow in popularity. Pulse protein is gaining popularity as well. Pulses are peas, lentils, beans, and chickpeas, and their protein content typically ranges from 21 to 26 percent. In addition, information gathered by Global Food Forums, Inc. also projects that algae protein applications are on the horizon, and that they might be followed by a surge in insect proteins.
Moving away from insects and back to the mainstream, cheese is another great source of protein. In the United States, the cheese category is positioned to grow by 25 percent in the next three years, to more than $27 billion, and globally, the retail cheese market is expected to grow to more than $138 billion in that same time according to IDDBA’s What’s in Store 2015. Shining the spotlight on the protein content in cheese can help position it as an important part of a healthy diet.
When choosing proteins, consumers are increasingly seeking healthy options. Among Supermarket Guru’s predictions for the top food trends for 2015 are the following:
- Locally sourced meats and seafood
- Natural ingredients
- Minimally processed foods
- New cuts of meat
As such, push the health factors and benefits of your deli meats to the forefront: low fat, low calorie, high protein, low sodium, etc. Amidst the often over-processed center-store products, your fresh, healthy deli meats will be a welcome option for health-conscious shoppers.