Best of the Deli

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Best of the Deli


Solutions for the supermarket deli and prepared foods department were among the highlights of Progressive Grocer’s 2013 class of Editors’ Picks.

The prepared food solutions just keep coming from Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods. One of the latest are Tyson Deli Market Grand Openings Snacks, heat-and-eat stuffed-dough snacks – more like bite-size sandwiches – in ovenable trays with a 10-day shelf life after thawing. Our testers seemed to prefer the Italian Style Meatball with Mozzarella in Herbed Foccacia Bread, noting that they're best eaten moments out of the oven. Ham & Swiss in Sourdough and Chipotle BBQ in Masa Dough also were tasty.

Part of Tyson’s innovative Deli Market line, the product is available in small case packs to reduce shrink. The packaging features a large window so customers can see the product, which sits on a dual ovenable tray wrapped in tamper-evident film. It arrives frozen, ready to be dated and placed directly into the cold case, where it will have a 10-day refrigerated shelf life.

These snacks help deli operators gain incremental sales in a fast-growing snacking society. With more than half of all consumers snacking at least twice daily, snacks have become the fourth leading driver of deli prepared food sales. Tyson deli reports that, on average, 68 percent of snacks purchased at retail locations are packaged, demonstrating opportunity for retailers to expand their prepared snack offerings and gain incremental sales.

Tyson also scored with its Simply Fried Chicken Boneless Fried Chicken, which impressed us as tasty and on-trend. Prebreaded and shipped frozen in separate 5-pound bags, the deboned white and dark meat pieces resemble the shapes of their bone-in counterparts; local stores do the frying and pack them in 4-piece boxes for the hot case. For our tests, we had to adjust recommended cooking time to account for smaller quantities that could fit in a home deep fryer. But they cooked up golden brown and crispy, delivering great flavor, moisture and texture.

The poultry experts at Perdue won us over with their deli chicken solutions, which we saw (and tasted) in action at this year's IDDBA show. The all-natural chicken burgers, with 40 percent less fat and 30 percent fewer calories than traditional beef burgers, are part of a turnkey program that includes merchandising materials and foil bags for 90-minute hot holding alongside rotisserie birds. The boneless, skinless, seasoned, pre-trussed rotisserie breast roast delivers nearly four times more edible breast meat than regular bone-in birds, reducing shrink and boosting the bottom line for deli operators.

Other winning products geared toward the deli:

- Aux Delices des Bois Genoa Salami and Truffle Sopressata

- Columbus Farm to Fork Naturals 

- Dietz & Watson All Natural Chicken Sausage

- Farmer John Chicken Sausages

- Parrano Dutch/Italian Cheese

- Reser's Side Dishes

- Stefano Bigdogs

Visit our August 2013 issue online to see the whole list of 2013 Editors’ Picks winners.