Deli Meat Sales Soar as Families Seek Convenient, Nutritious Meal Solutions at Home

WASHINGTON — As the country starts to observe National Deli Meat Month this March, multiple food industry reports demonstrate how Americans have affirmed their affinity for prepared deli meats during the global pandemic.  Across the country during the past year, prepared meats have seen major sales increases in some of the most popular categories – including grab-&-go options like pre-sliced ham, beef, bologna, salami and pepperoni.  Sales increases in 2020 for specific grab-&-go deli meats ranged from 23% to 95% versus the year before.  These data were reported to The International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) by IRI, a data analytics and market research company that provides consumer and retail market intelligence and analysis.

“Very clearly, deli meats have been helping Americans navigate this new world since March 2020,” said Eric Mittenthal, Vice President of Sustainability for The North American Meat Institute (NAMI).  “This IRI data verifies two things – how much people rely on the convenience and nutrition of deli meats, and how effective deli departments have been at meeting consumers’ needs for pre-sliced and grab-&-go options.  Never before has it seemed more fitting to celebrate National Deli Meat Month!”

National Deli Meat Month, which coincides each March with National Nutrition Month, has served as a joint educational program between NAMI, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff and The National Pork Board, administrator of the Pork Checkoff.  This year, the effort is augmented by the IDDBA.  The goal of the month-long celebration is to provide educational and promotional tools to consumers, health professionals, retailers and manufacturers to encourage them to enjoy their favorite deli meat and to remind them that they can feel good about the nutritional benefits of these popular cuts.  The centerpiece of this effort – –provides a multitude of resources, including infographics, fact sheets, nutrition information and the latest news. 

“Deli meat annual sales in 2020 grew 9.3% to $7.2 billion, and packaged luncheon meat annual sales also grew 9.3% to $5.5 billion. There is no doubt that Americans enjoy and rely on deli meats,” said Chris Jones, Director, Marketing Strategy at the National Pork Board.  “With the diversity of products at the deli case and counter, there is something for everyone to meet nutrition needs, tastes, budgets and personal preferences.”

To help consumers navigate this myriad of choices, which are increasingly including options that are low- and reduced-sodium, low- and reduced-fat, organic, grass-fed, American Heart Association certified, Kosher and more. Check out the product center to find more information.

Throughout Deli Meat Month, consumers can expect to see lots of promotional excitement, including a Deli Dinner Showdown campaign which will play out on TikTok.  NAMI and The National Pork Board will be collaborating with The Food Renegades, a division of The Digital Renegades, a digital marketing agency and a chef alliance.  Leading influencers will share their enthusiasm for deli meats, as they break away from the long-held image of these products as only lunch and sandwich options, and create culinary delights featuring their favorite cuts.  Americans can join the celebration on social media by posting and following #DeliMeatMonth.

About The Beef Checkoff:

The Beef Checkoff Program ( was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. In states with qualified beef councils, states may retain up to 50 cents of the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.

About NAMI:

The North American Meat Institute (NAMI), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, is the leading voice for the meat and poultry industry. Formed from the 2015 merger of the American Meat Institute (AMI) and North American Meat Association (NAMA), the Institute has a rich, century-long history and provides essential member services including legislative, regulatory, scientific, international and public affairs representation. NAMI’s mission is to shape a public policy environment in which the meat and poultry industry can produce wholesome products safely, efficiently and profitably. Together, the Institute’s members produce the vast majority of U.S. beef, pork, lamb and poultry and the equipment, ingredients and services needed for the highest quality products.

About The National Pork Board:

The National Pork Board has responsibility for Pork Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in consumer education and marketing, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety, and environmental management and sustainability. For the past half century, the U.S. pork industry has delivered on its commitment to sustainable production and has made significant strides in reducing the environmental impact of pig farming. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or visit

“Internal links within this document are funded and maintained by the Beef Checkoff and Pork Checkoff. All other outgoing links are to websites maintained by third parties.”