15th Annual People’s Awards

Deli Business honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to the industry, their company and their community

Andy
DeCou 

Category Manager, 
Deli, Schnucks Markets Inc., 
St. Louis

Q. How has your career evolved over the years?

A. Early in my career, I kept trying for the next promotion and didn’t care what categories I ran as long as it meant advancement. Then, about seven years ago, I started running Specialty Deli and developed a passion for cheese. The more I learned about cheese, the more fascinated I became. From its rich history to the incredible variety of flavors and textures, to the amazing group of American artisan producers, I love that something so simple, made with only four ingredients, offers so much complexity. Plus, cheese makes people happy.

Q. What is the best advice you ever received and why?

A. Spend at least as much time in the stores as you do in the office. The best way to evaluate any program is to see it for yourself in action. Some of the best ideas for the most successful programs came from recommendations from store teammates. Plus, nothing can replace the learning that takes place as you watch shoppers interact with your programs.

 Q. What deli retail trends have impacted the industry most over the last year?


A. While time has always been a precious commodity, over the last year we’re even more intently focused on saving shoppers as much time as possible. Whether it’s pre-sliced deli meats, pre-packaged salads, kiosk ordering or grocery delivery, customers want their groceries fast, but they aren’t willing to sacrifice quality. Therefore, we’re working to deliver high-quality products as quickly and conveniently as possible for Schnucks’ deli shoppers.

 Q. What technology or technical tools are indispensable to you in the workplace and why?

A. Dashboards with various sales reports that allow you to drill down into the data are game changers when it comes to setting strategy. Nielsen data related to market share and areas of opportunity is something I rely on, as well. But nothing’s more fun than loyalty data that lets us know who’s buying what and what else is in their carts. Schnucks just launched a rewards program this past August, and the information we’re now seeing in terms of customer behavior is beyond eye opening.

Q. What have been the biggest changes in the deli industry over the course of your career?

A. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the deli industry over my career, but some of the biggest include the current migration to more and more self service, while at the same time, expanding labor in key areas of differentiation like Cheese Shops and Entertaining. Cheese can be intimidating, so the more we can take the mystery out of it by educating our customers, the more they can look “in the know” in front of their families and friends. Even a small amount of knowledge makes them feel good about themselves and keeps them coming back for more guidance.


Q. What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome on the job?

A. As I have moved to different retailers in different areas of the country, I have had to learn how to adapt to different customer habits as well as different company cultures. For example, before I moved to St. Louis, I hadn’t even heard of provel cheese (a processed cheese product popular in the city). It’s now my top selling cheese!

Q. What hobbies do you enjoy outside of work?

A. I enjoy running and have completed several marathons. I also love traveling, and wherever I go I am always on the lookout for cheesemakers and dairies along the way so I can continue learning about cheese.

Q. Are you married? If so, how long? How many children?A. I have a 21-year-old daughter who never ceases to amaze me. She’s a junior in college working to become a special education teacher, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

Cover Story

Tales from IDDBA

The Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta was buzzing with activity, as the aisles filled throughout the day and manufacturer booths had crowds sampling all that the IDDBA Show had to offer. Attendees proclaimed they were happy to be back after the two-year hiatus due to COVID, and from the looks of things, the industry has picked up where it left off in 2019. […]

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