Variety Show

by Lynn Petrak
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Variety packs of deli meats cater to consumers seeking flavor, convenience and choice on their terms. 
 

If variety is the spice of life, some deli meat companies are kicking it up a notch with multi-product packs that deliver on convenience, flavor and choice. While these items aren’t new concepts, there is variety within the variety, so to speak.

Some variety packs include duos of deli meats that go well together on a sandwich or cold cut platter, like ham and turkey. Others include a trio or more of meats that are complementary but offer more choices for the end user, including busy or bigger households. While many deli meat combinations are packaged in flexible packaging, such as a bag or pouch, others are merchandised in lidded tubs.

Giving consumers more choices – and thereby letting them find the variety pack that best suits their needs or their family’s needs – is a must in today’s competitive environment, says Patty Johnson, global food and drink analyst for Chicago-based Mintel. “One-size-fits-all is dead. In certain categories, the assembly line approach kicked the bucket a long time back, in some cases even decades ago. Moreover, consumers have come to see ‘have it my way’ as more than just a fun, frivolous way to express their personality or as just a fast food chain slogan, but as a recognition that no two people, and no two people’s needs, are the same,” she points out, adding that this mindset can pose challenges for brands, as well as opportunities. “By allowing consumers to get exactly what they want, when and how they want it, brands not only build a more personal relationship, they can also avoid wasting money, time and resources on things their consumer doesn’t want.”

The more the merrier

Accordingly, major producers of deli meats have expanded their variety pack offerings to give their consumers more options. Hillshire Farms, for example, offers duo packs of roasted turkey breast and honey ham, in addition to variety packs for different applications and appetites, such as a Sub Sandwich variety pack with pastrami, smoked ham and smoked turkey breast, a Club Sandwich variety pack with oven roasted turkey breast, smoked turkey and honey ham and a ham variety pack with smoked ham, honey ham and brown sugar baked ham.

The Butterball brand also offers different variety packs, including a 9-oz. packaged trio of honey roasted turkey, smoked turkey and oven roasted chicken breast and a 12-oz. package of turkey ham, smoked white turkey, turkey bologna and turkey salami. The Oscar Mayer brand from Kraft Heinz, meantime, caters to those looking for more product with a 1-lb. family size Variety Pak with bologna, turkey and chopped ham and a Sub Kit with ham and salami and ham and turkey combinations. Single-protein packs are in Oscar Mayer’s lineup as well, such as an all-turkey variety pack with smoked white turkey, smoked, turkey bologna and turkey cotto salami, and a poultry pack with chicken, oven roasted turkey and smoked turkey.

“Oscar Mayer believes in providing a variety of products that fit the varying needs of shoppers. So, when Oscar Mayer created Oscar Mayer Sub Kits and Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Combos, it answered the call from consumers who were interested in combining various flavors of quality cold cuts together,” says Jeremy Truxal, brand manager for Oscar Mayer Cold Cuts.

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