Meals and main courses are thriving in grocery deli prepared foods sections, but sides and salads aren’t faring as well.
Those are among the conclusions of a new report by market research specialist Nielsen.
The deli department enjoyed strong growth in the past year, tallying dollar growth of more than $875 million and volume growth of more than 240 million units, according to Nielsen. “The deli department shines as a true growth engine for the store,” according to the company.
Within deli, though, some items are doing much better than others. Top performers include ready-to-eat stew, with 40.6 percent dollar growth, meal kits (up 26.8 percent), tacos (up 23.6 percent), meatballs (up 18.4 percent) and main course-chicken (up 18 percent).
Underperformers in deli, according to Nielsen, include bean salad (down 17.6 percent), value-added rice (down 11.6 percent), fruit salad (down 7.3 percent), tuna salad (down 6.6 percent) and egg salad (down 5 percent).
“(A) factor that may be driving purchase trends here, is the perceived complexity and time-savings associated with purchasing prepared foods compared to making them at home,” according to Nielsen. “ Where a stew, prepared chicken dish, or even fresh meal kit may take quite a bit of time and effort to prepare at home, there is perhaps a relative ease associated with preparing a bean salad, cold cuts sandwich or fruit salad.”