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The Beef Checkoff Upgrades National Deli Meat Month

This March, the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, is executing exciting new efforts to celebrate National Deli Meat Month. Determined to “beef up” the month-long celebration, NAMI is turning National Deli Meat Month into an American favorite.

Deli Meats Popularity

Growing National Deli Meat Month is key to expanding consumer demand for prepared beef – and research shows deli meat is extremely valuable to the beef industry.

Nielsen data from 2019 shows that meat items sold beyond the fresh meat department have a value of $23 billion, with $13 billion coming from the deli department. Additionally, The 2019 Power of Meat Report states that in a given month, shoppers were buying meat across the store, including 37 percent in the deli, 39 percent fully cooked and 49 percent frozen.

Ultimately, research has shown that consumers turn to deli meats, especially during unprecedented times. One remarkable data point tracked by 210 Analytics and IRI, a market research and data analysis company, in the first weeks of the global pandemic in March 2020 was that deli meat sales jumped as high as 40 percent over sales during the same week in March 2019.

Power in Numbers

To build upon consumers’ desire for deli meats, NAMI set a strong foundation for National Deli Meat Month in 2020. To do this, NAMI partnered with the National Pork Board (NPB) to create an entirely new campaign to promote and advance National Deli Meat Month. Together, an outreach campaign was directed to retailers, health professionals, dietitians, restaurateurs and consumers, encouraging them to enjoy their favorite deli meats and reminding them they can feel good about these popular cuts’ nutritional benefits.

This effort’s centerpiece was a newly created website – – which provides a multitude of new resources including logos, messages, infographics, fact sheets, nutrition information and the latest news. Combined, these efforts reached consumers more than 600 million times and engaged more than 350,000 key opinion leaders. Partnering with the NPB helped generate momentum around National Deli Meat Month.

New Efforts

Throughout March, this momentum helped increase consumer demand for deli meats. The industry is now well-positioned to effectively grow National Deli Meat Month and adopt a long-term commitment to build upon each year.

Similar to past years, efforts to reach key audiences included press releases, television segments, eblasts, print ads and personal contact with top nutrition communicators. To upgrade things in 2021, NAMI and NPB developed more partnerships, created more activity opportunities and engaged with more retailers, health professionals, dietitians, restauranteurs and consumers than ever before. New assets, including an online toolkit complete with communication and activation ideas for retailers and producers, are available to inspire customer engagement and promotion at both the store and community levels.

A significant outreach effort to members, retailers and appropriate restaurants, like Subway and other sandwich chains, encouraged them to promote National Deli Meat Month – either using the existing materials or creating their own supporting activations. Additionally, NAMI has forged a new partnership with the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) to extend this outreach and engagement to their membership, including more than 1,500 companies ranging from small independents to the world’s largest corporations.

To take advantage of fun, innovative virtual happenings, NAMI and NPB are executing Deli Dinner “Meat” & Greets. Building off of NAMI’s first Hot Dog Zoom Happy Hour success in 2020, Deli Dinner “Meat” & Greets will feature nutrition communicators and big brands as a way to encourage a break from the long-held image of deli meat as only lunch and sandwich options.

Also new this year is a National Deli Meat Month TikTok promotion. NAMI has seen great success through TikTok in the past year, and it plans to grow prepared beef’s presence on the platform. In partnership with The Food Renegades, a division of The Digital Renegades digital marketing agency and a chef alliance on TikTok, NAMI and NPB will be launching an exciting effort for National Deli Month that includes leading influencers sharing their enthusiasm for deli meats.

Overall, as National Deli Meat Month moves into its second year of promotion, NAMI is confident these efforts are only just the beginning, and consumers’ love of deli meat will continue to grow.

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