Ethnic, Local Themes Top 2012 Deli Trends

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Ethnic, Local Themes Top 2012 Deli Trends


International fare and regionally produced ingredients are the hottest trends in deli department foods.

That’s according to What’s in Store 2012, the recently released annual trends publication of the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association, which reports that 82 percent of consumers enjoy visiting supermarket delis that feature newer and trendier items, regardless of whether they regularly purchase these items.

Delis need to cultivate an image of being “in the know” so that customers are more receptive to new products, trends and menu ideas, the IDDBA asserts.

Fresh, local and organic salads and side dishes are rising in popularity in line with restaurant trends. Ethnic entrees such as chorizo and carne asada, as well as Korean short ribs, Polish kielbasa, carnitas and Serrano ham are interesting to customers looking for new meal solutions.

Ready-to-eat foods continue to be popular at the deli. For instance, deli pizzas are trending toward smaller portions, artisan pizzas with regional and ethnic flavors and local produce for toppings. Whole-grain crusts, as well as all-natural, organic and vegetarian options are catering to an increasingly sophisticated American palate. Rotisserie chicken recipes are joining in on ethnic food trends with flavors like lime-cilantro and chipotle-barbecue. Deli chicken wings and now turkey wings are also popular deli case offerings, with locally prepped signature sauces.

According to IDDBA research, top trendy ethnic items attracting shoppers in deli sandwich programs/prepared food areas are crepes (27.6 percent), chipotle flavors (24 percent), hummus (23.4 percent), Korean barbecue (22.7 percent) and empanadas (21.6 percent). Others mentioned were Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches (10.5 percent) and stuffed cornmeal cakes known as pupusas (10 percent).

According to Nielsen Perishables Group, deli-shopping households only make an average of 15 trips per year to the deli department. Deli prepared foods captured 85.9 percent of households buying at least once a year, the highest penetration for a deli category. Consumers are buying more prepared meals at supermarkets, convenience stores and mass merchandisers that offer convenience, quality and variety to shoppers. Retailers are responding by making more space for these offerings.

Visit the IDDBA online for more information about its annual What’s In Store report.

Madison, Wis.-based IDDBA is a nonprofit membership organization serving the dairy, deli, bakery, cheese and supermarket foodservice industries.

Learn more in our Deli Insights report, “Building a Dominant Deli,” in the March 2012 issue of PG.