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Bringing Deli To The People: Volume 5

An illustration of Tyson's Brad Bennett

Last updated on February 20th, 2019 at 02:20 pm

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Be Accessible: New Orleans Fried Chicken Festival

by Brad Bennett/channel marketing manager, deli, Tyson Foods Inc.

What happens when you pair America’s go-to staple for prepared foods with a city that’s famous for its southern cuisine? That answer’s easy or, more specifically, the Big Easy, where I discovered the Fried Chicken Festival was spot-on as an accessible community event for the city of New Orleans.

Some quick stats about the NOLA Fried Chicken Fest:

  • 175,000-plus attendees
  • 35 restaurants
  • Free to attend, volunteer run
  • Two music stages and one demo stage

Let the good times roll

My favorite aspect was how well this event carried the idea of community engagement throughout the entire festival grounds. Entertainment varied from R&B to mariachi to pop, and there were plenty of fun games plus a designated space for children that included arts, crafts and a big-screen TV.

Consumers have been telling us they are more interested in the food experience over product selection and price cuts.1 Events like this support the overall initiative of Tyson Deli to educate and inspire by providing an opening for guaranteed engagement with consumers. And, frankly, they’re fun.

Crispy, extra crispy, double dipped, spicy, mild, extra spicy—New Orleans knows how to serve up this favorite fare for prepared food shoppers. I sampled some of the best of the best fried chicken I’ve ever laid my lips on, but I also found beaucoup incentives for shoppers to head into the stores later for more fried goodness. They also learned new ways to pair fried chicken for satisfying and quick meal ideas, and I saw product loyalty develop before my eyes.

This free outdoor two-day festival transformed one of deli’s basic building blocks into a memorable and accessible experience for thousands of consumers. Grocery sponsor Rouses Markets and Tyson also gave back to the community by hiring youth from a local nonprofit program to help run the Rouses booth and put the culinary art skills they are learning to work.

I’m off on my final food quest adventure to the Arizona Taco Festival, and next month we’ll discover how to reach Millennials with true experiential marketing and what that can look like for a retailer in a unique space like food festivals.

To follow along on my Food Quest journey, visit TysonVelocity.com/FoodQuest.


  1. Tyson Foods, Emotional Trigger Study, 2017; Tyson Foods, Awareness, Trial, Repurchase, 2016; Tyson Foods, Prepared Foods Challenge, 2016
  1. Fried Chicken Festival, September 22-23, 2018, New Orleans, La.

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