At the retail deli counter, lunchmeat has always been the cornerstone of what makes its way into lunchboxes, until recently. The
$9 billion industry, which includes deli and packaged lunchmeat with $5 billion coming specifically from the deli department, lunchmeat is showing signs of struggle as consumers change the way they eat, especially around lunch, says Sarah Schmansky, vice president of Nielsen Fresh, Chicago.
Turkey and ham continue to reign supreme in terms of what’s most popular within lunchmeat, Nielsen data reports. While overall sales of lunchmeat are down, growth is occurring in turkey, ham (although minimal), as well as varieties such as salami and pepperoni (up 3.5 percent and 4.5 percent in dollars, respectively for total U.S. deli lunchmeat for the year ending Feb. 24, according to Nielsen).