The Versatility of Sandwiches for Delis, Prepared Food Departments and More

Who would’ve guessed that two pieces of bread with seemingly any type of meat, cheese and vegetable could have become one of the most popular foods all day round? Sandwiches are such a simple concept that prepared food departments, delis and restaurants can customize to fit the tastes of a broad consumer base, allowing them to get creative with both standard and gourmet options. The ideas for sandwiches can come from all over the food pyramid.

Rise of the Sandwich
A big reason sandwiches are popular in the various prepared foods sections is the portability of them. People can pick up lunch or even a snack that they can “grab-n-go.” A survey by Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) reveals that Millennials (age 20-29) favor fresh and healthy foods the most, with prepared and portable foods as other high-ranking traits. Sandwiches combine these aspects, appealing to the large demographic of young shoppers, leading to high sales potential.

Simple Options
Sandwiches that are minimal may not be the most visually appealing, but sometimes they’re exactly what the customer needs. Consultant Jonathan Raduns cited variety packs of three slider-sized sandwiches as an innovation that piques consumers’ interest in freshness and variety. Options like these give customers versatile options with snack size sandwiches for downtime between meals or lunch options that could be added to the rest of their meal. The variety pack also helps those indecisive buyers who don’t know they want to eat and need to make a choice quickly.

Simple sandwiches expectedly use simple ingredients, making for cost-effective options for buyers on a budget and a time constraint. This also doesn’t take too much out of a store’s budget with the nominal cost of food materials, so expanding prepared food offerings to include sandwiches like these won’t be costly for business testing premade sandwiches for customers.

Not Your Standard Sandwich
However, sandwiches are popular on both ends of the spectrum. Using premium, quality ingredients is appealing to customers of all ages. Some delis and prepared food departments are experimenting with food that isn’t seen on your standard menu, with items like shrimp and bruschetta. These items have been more popular in areas where customers tend to be less considerate about price and more focused on quality. Before experimenting with unorthodox ingredients that may be more expensive, gauge your consumer base to see what they value most, since it varies from town-to-town.

Investments like these can be expensive if stores become overzealous. Start off with one premium product to see how it sells before moving on to other types of sandwich foods. Make sure the right equipment is present in your meat room, deli or any relevant department. Whether your business invests in more varieties of bread, high quality meat or exotic flavors, slicers for bread and meat, along with the right heating and merchandising equipment should be up-to-date to accommodate to any new items.

Contemporary Cuisine for the Current Consumer

Age groups seem to shed light on the interests of different demographics with all the statistics on many industries and what people are buying. Among the many numerous interests of consumers is their role in the food industry. While a person’s age group does not determine what kind of foods they like and how they prefer to eat their meals, there are strong trends that show how supermarkets can help cater to their varied customers. [Read more…]

Produce or Protein, the Organic Market Can Drive the Prepared Foods Section

With consumers becoming more health conscious due to the vast amount of information and options available to them, shoppers aren’t just looking for meals that are low in fat or calories, but rather foods that are organic. The organic food segment grew by 8.4% last year, showing customers are paying attention to what kind of food is on their plate. To give consumers choices based on the organic trend, there are various routes you could take with your meat or prepared food department. [Read more…]

Summer Grilling – Not Just for Burgers

With the summer weather showing its face, that also means grilling season has commenced. While many customers are heading outside to cook, whether it’s the park or the porch, not everyone has time to embrace the barbecue with their busy work schedule. That’s where the prepared food department at your local grocery store can fill the void. However, your standard meats alone do not satisfy the evolving tastes of the modern eater. [Read more…]

Small, targeted commercial equipment investments make a big difference

What’s stopping you from investing in better, smarter cooking or baking equipment for your commercial kitchen? Is it money? Is it space? Or is it plain old why-mess-with-a-good-thing inertia?

We’re not about to stop store managers who feel inclined to remodel their kitchens top to bottom. Still, business owners and decision-makers must know a large-scale, costly upgrade is no guarantee of success or even turnaround from past failings. A targeted approach, one that focuses on unique struggles and goals, has a greater potential to return in spades what a team puts into it. What are examples of such a method, and why do they work as well as they do? [Read more…]

Equipment must-haves for supermarket breakfast menus

Who doesn’t love breakfast? Yet even the meal we’ve long dubbed “most important” has seen a noticeable boom in popularity over the last year, particularly when it comes to the breakfast options offered at deli counters, supermarkets and grocery stores across the country.

Earlier this year, Progressive Grocer reported annual sales increases for deli-prepared breakfast items like sandwiches (14.2 percent), quiche (17.9 percent) and combo plates (17.2 percent) between February 2015 and 2016. Interestingly enough, omelet sales from the prepared foods department grew more than 210 percent in that same timeframe. [Read more…]

Demonstrate nutritional awareness in your prepared foods department with these 3 suggestions [w/ Infographic]

Why do shoppers choose prepared foods from their local supermarkets over restaurant and fast-food fare? If you ask the Food Marketing Institute, menu diversity has led to $15 billion in industry growth over the last eight years and cemented the perception that prepared foods are a fresher, healthier alternative to traditional dining options. [Read more…]

Snack food frenzy: What it takes to bring pizza and soft pretzels to your prepared foods department

Some days, you just have to treat yourself.

Snack foods get everyone’s attention — the sight and smell of a piping-hot pizza pie or a freshly baked soft pretzel makes everybody’s mouths water, which means they can both be real commercial successes for foodservice business owners considering selling these treats in their stores.

That said, supermarkets or grocery stores looking for a slice of the action shouldn’t let the fun times associated with these snacks cloud their judgment. Pizza and soft pretzels both require careful equipment considerations every investor should be aware of. [Read more…]

What does the modern meat eater want from their local grocer’s meat department?

People take their meat very seriously – when customers want products from grass-fed, free-range livestock with no antibiotics or additives, they’ll let you know and expect you to show them products that suit their discerning needs.

As of late, carnivorous consumers have begun acting uncharacteristically sheepish – a confluence of consumer trends have led to shoppers spending less on meat overall and purchasing meat less frequently when they do their grocery shopping. [Read more…]

Vacuum tumblers: Better for prepared foods, better for budgets [w/ Infographic]

Marination isn’t just culinary – it’s a science. And when prepared food departments understand that and invest in the right tools behind the counter, they turn out a better product more efficiently.

High-capacity vacuum tumblers are the cornerstone of smarter, more flavorful marinades, not to mention more cost-effective and timely operations from staff. What are vacuum tumblers? What enhancements can investors expect from this equipment? [Read more…]