SAN ANTONIO – Father’s Day weekend typically provides a sales boost across fresh departments, and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic didn’t stop that trend. Sales for the week ending on June 21 were elevated to higher levels than they have been for the last several weeks. 

According to the latest data from 210 Analytics and IRI, the total fresh perimeter experienced an 19.1% jump in sales over the same timeframe in 2019 the week ending on June 14, compared to an 8.7% bump the previous week. 

“We had high hopes for Father’s Day week and the numbers did not disappoint,” said Jeremy Johnson, vice president of education for the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA). “We had several very important firsts this week. The recovery in fresh baked goods continued. Father’s Day celebrations prompted positive gains for the instore bakery over last year’s levels for the first time since mid-March. 

Still a strong performer, the meat category in the second week of June totaled dollar sales 31.9% above 2019 sales. Although volume sales gains were only up 13.9% for the category, the heightened dollar sales continue to derive from enhanced meat prices across the category.   

Dollar wise, lamb (up 51.3%), beef (41.6) and pork (up 36.2%) were the top performing meats. Chicken was up 16.1% and turkey was up 20.6%.     

Although still reduced from the same timeframe in 2019, the deli department had a successful week, with a sales decline of 6%. Within the department, deli cheese was up 16.8%, deli meat was up by 11.8% and deli prepared foods were down 18.7% — the lowest loss since the week of March 15.   

“With restaurant competition heating back up, decisions relative to assortment and pricing are crucial right now,” said Eric Richard, industry relations coordinator with IDDBA. “It is important to answer the demand for convenient, ready-to-eat meals with relevant assortment and attractive value propositions. Frozen food entrees have seen an extremely strong couple of months and restaurant transactions are growing each week. At the same time, the new normal provides us with the opportunity to re-evaluate line extensions and focus on high velocity, highly profitable items that helps us differentiate from the competition.”