Nothing like a good sandwich to curb hunger.

As the country starts to observe National Deli Meat Month in March, multiple food industry reports demonstrate how Americans have affirmed their affinity for prepared deli meats during the global pandemic.

Across the country during the past year, prepared meats have seen major sales increases in some of the most popular categories – including grab-&-go options like pre-sliced ham, beef, bologna, salami, and pepperoni.

Sales increases in 2020 for specific grab-&-go deli meats ranged from 23% to 95% versus the year before.  These data were reported to The International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) by IRI, a data analytics and market research company that provides consumer and retail market intelligence and analysis, according to a news release.

Yum, Yum

March is National Deli Meat Month and National Nutrition Month all in one. Deli meats offer thousands of nutritious options and have been a very popular choice during the pandemic, with sales spiking considerably

“Very clearly, deli meats have been helping Americans navigate this new world since March 2020,” said Eric Mittenthal, vice president of sustainability for The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) in the news release.  “This IRI data verifies two things – how much people rely on the convenience and nutrition of deli meats, and how effective deli departments have been at meeting consumers’ needs for pre-sliced and grab-&-go options.  Never before has it seemed more fitting to celebrate National Deli Meat Month!”

National Deli Meat Month, which coincides each March with National Nutrition Month, has served as a joint educational program between NAMI, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, and The National Pork Board, administrator of the Pork Checkoff.

This year, the effort is augmented by the IDDBA.  The goal of the month-long celebration is to provide educational and promotional tools to consumers, health professionals, retailers, and manufacturers to encourage them to enjoy their favorite deli meat and to remind them that they can feel good about the nutritional benefits of these popular cuts.

“Deli meat annual sales in 2020 grew 9.3% to $7.2 billion, and packaged luncheon meat annual sales also grew 9.3% to $5.5 billion. There is no doubt that Americans enjoy and rely on deli meats,” said Chris Jones, director, marketing strategy at the National Pork Board in the news release.  “With the diversity of products at the deli case and counter, there is something for everyone to meet nutrition needs, tastes, budgets, and personal preferences.”

Lots of Options

To help consumers navigate this myriad of choices, which are increasingly including low options- and reduced-sodium, low- and reduced-fat, organic, grass-fed, American Heart Association certified Kosher and more. Check out the product center to find more information.

Throughout Deli Meat Month, consumers can expect to see lots of promotional excitement, including a Deli Dinner Showdown campaign which will play out on TikTok.  NAMI and The National Pork Board will be collaborating with The Food Renegades, a division of The Digital Renegades, a digital marketing agency, and a chef alliance, the news release added.

“Internal links within this document are funded and maintained by the Beef Checkoff and Pork Checkoff. All other outgoing links are to websites maintained by third parties.”

Source: North American Meat Institute