Need for convenience fuels growth in prepared food purchases

June 15, 2010

Convenience is a key driver for U.S. consumers who are increasingly turning to prepared foods purchased at the supermarket deli for in-home suppers, reports The NPD Group, a market research company. According to NPD’s DeliTrack, which tracks deli-prepared food purchases, consumers indicate that one of the top reasons they purchase prepared foods is for an easy meal at home.

DeliTrack data finds that nearly half of deli-area prepared food purchases are in-store decisions. This aligns with findings from NPD’s upcoming report entitled “Before the Store,” which studies consumer shopping habits and meal planning. According to the report, the top challenges consumers face when planning and shopping for meals are getting new ideas and finding meals that are quick to make. While most purchases of deli-prepared foods are driven by habit and convenience, 10% are items buyers are trying for the first time.

According to NPD’s DeliTrack, approximately one in five adults purchase a prepared food from retail in a typical week. When making prepared food purchase decisions, consumers’ top picks are chicken or turkey items; sandwiches; deli salads, such as potato salad; and leaf salads. These four types of foods account for just over half of all deli-prepared food purchases.

“The popularity of deli-prepared foods is not surprising. We are a convenience-driven society. Picking up a prepared meal in the supermarket deli along with other staples we might need for home represents one-stop shopping,” said Ann Hanson, Executive Director, Product Development in NPD’s Food and Beverage unit. “There are more prepared food options available at supermarkets today providing consumers with both variety and the convenience of buying a prepared meal along with their other groceries.”

Press release