Goodbye NYC Carnegie Deli, Hello Upping Your Store’s Deli Game

December 30, 2016

The famous NYC Carnegie Deli closes its doors tonight at midnight. How's your store's deli doing?

Today at midnight, after 79 years in business, the famous New York City Carnegie Deli will close it’s doors forever. With a famous sandwich named after Woody Allen, walls lined with celebrity photos, piled high pastrami on rye, since 1937, the deli became an NYC institution, but after reports of legal and personal issues that became public, the owners have decided to close up shop and focus on their licensing their brand. 

The long lines and wait times people will endure today and tonight to get their last taste of the famous deli act as a great reminder for supermarkets that the deli counter is a popular destination for many shoppers. In fact, this year, we surveyed our own SupermarketGuru consumer panel and found that 80% eat deli meats! But still many shoppers have concerns about the foods in the deli case.

For those that don’t who said they don’t eat deli meats, here are the main reasons they state: not healthy (39%), too many additives (20%), don’t like them (7%), not sure about the quality of the meat (7%), concerned about sodium (5%). Others site allergies and cross contamination, as well as perceived cleanliness of the deli in general.

These findings match the 2015 IDDBA-SupermarketGuru Consumer Panel Survey which highlights how supermarket delis can build confidence (and sales) in their service departments.

For those that do enjoy deli meats, four out of ten respondents eat them a couple of times a week, followed by those who consume them a couple of times a month (38%). Only eight percent eat deli meats daily.

The most popular choices are: turkey (46%), ham (25%), roast beef (7%), salami (6%) and chicken breast (3%).  

The majority are purchasing their deli meat fresh from the deli counter (74%) versus those who just grab the prepackaged version - obviously choosing the service department as the place where they can not only choose exactly what they want, see the piece of meat their selection is cut from and custom order the weight of package and thickness of slice.  One key note: 72% sometimes or always read labels and ask about added ingredients, so it is critical for your staff to be educated about the ingredients and be able to correctly answer their shoppers questions.

Of the various additives, 57% try and avoid nitrites (used as a preservative) in their deli meats.

One factor to also consider is the price. A corned beef sandwich like the "Woody Allen", while certainly overstuffed, carried a price tag of $29.99!