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May Sales Report: Deli Increases While Bakery Dips

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According to 210 Analytics’ recent report, prices in the fresh perimeter were up 1.2 percent in May versus a year ago, whereas center-store grocery prices increased 1.7 percent – the closest rates of inflation seen in several years between the two parts of the store. 

The May prices across food and beverages were 33 percent higher than they were pre-COVID-19 pandemic.

Prices in the bakery and deli department have stabilized in the past few months. 


The five May weeks brought in just under $3 billion of deli-prepared food sales, which reflected increases for dollar and unit sales. Deli cheese and entertaining also had strong performances, with the latter taking advantage of May’s many special celebrations, including Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. 

In the 52-week view, deli-prepared foods sales exceed $30 billion, with unit gains of 4.1 percent. 

Deli meat

While pound sales for deli meat remained down year over year, the May performance was better than the 52-week view – pointing to some stabilization. Both grab-and-go and pre-sliced improved pound sales in May, but not enough to offset the losses seen in the service case.

Packaged lunch meat (included in meat department sales) generated $681 million in May, with flat pounds and deflation pulling dollars below year-ago levels. 

Deli cheese

With a large and growing contribution by specialty cheese, deli cheese was an area of growth for the store. Deli cheese grew dollars, units and pounds, both in the shorter- and longer-term periods.

Like deli meat, grab-and-go is an area of growth whereas sales going through the service department are down year over year.

Deli entertaining

Much how consumers rely on deli-prepared solutions for everyday convenience, entertaining sales also were strong. In the full-year view, pound sales have increased 2.1 percent over year-ago levels. This is driven by strength in the sales of trays, spreads and pickles/relish.

Deli prepared

Deli-prepared food sales continued to grow with strength for full meal solutions, such as pizza, and meal ingredients, such as prepared meats and appetizers. 

In May, prepared meats and desserts each showed double-digit unit increases. Deli-prepared meat, with rotisserie chicken as the predominant seller, also increased 11.3 percent in units in the 52-week view. 

[RELATED: Dairy, Deli, Bakery Sales Increase Due To Holiday Boosts]



Bakery department sales, which covers fixed and random weight items, as well as the bakery aisle and the fresh perimeter bakery, totaled $4.7 billion in the five May weeks. Mild deflation coupled with a slight decline in units meant dips in both dollars and units for the total bakery department.

The fresh bakery performance was mixed in May. Cakes, pastries and doughnuts were unable to sustain last year’s levels, but muffins, breads, buns and rolls, croissants and others increased year-over-year unit sales. In the 52-week view, the big winners in pounds included brownies, bread, doughnuts and buns and rolls.

About the author

Sommer Stockton

Web Editor

Sommer joined The Shelby Report in January 2022 after graduating from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA with a B.A. and M.A. in Communications and Media Studies. Sommer is excited to learn about the grocery industry and share her findings with The Shelby Report's readers!

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