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Home Entertaining Trend Takes Charcuterie a Step Further

Retailers inspire shoppers on building grazing boards
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If Martha Stewart, the Food Network, Marissa Mullen of @ThatCheesePlate on Instagram and the scores of Pinterest posters showing off their creations is any indication, the Bacchanalian-inspired grazing board will be the hottest way to entertain in the new year.

Grocers such as Poway, Calif.-based Barons Market are banking on the trend this holiday season by featuring big-impact displays designed to inspire and educate shoppers on how to build the perfect Barons board. Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans, meanwhile, offers an online Quick Guide to Building a Simple & Sophisticated Cheese & Charcuterie Party on its website.

Hy-Vee of West Des Moines, Iowa, shows shoppers how to create a visually stunning charcuterie board in six easy steps on its website. The steps include serving a variety of meats and cheeses; adding jams and fresh or dried fruits; choosing a “Grand Garnish,” such as nuts, olives or whole-grain mustard; and pairing with wine. Alternatively, shoppers can consider Hy-Vee’s “Backup Plan” of ready-made boards.

For retailers, there are a whole host of considerations when it comes to marketing charcuterie for both the holiday celebration and the regular weekend gathering. Consumers love their food and want to know more about its origins, how it gets its flavor, and what food and beverages taste great together. Here are eight key points about charcuterie WGB has gathered from the experts:

Segment Growth. Charcuterie-type packaged meat snacks/meals represent the strongest area for growth within charcuterie, according to Chicago-based IRI, with category sales up 10.1% to $509.5 million for the 52 weeks ending October 2019 vs. one year ago.

Animal Welfare a Concern. Consumer demand for higher animal welfare in the charcuterie category is on the rise. Niman Ranch of Northglenn, Colo., points to a 2018 Lake Research Partners survey, which found that 76% of consumers are concerned about the welfare of animals raised for food.

Pairing for the Party. Niman Ranch recently developed charcuterie-pairing recipe cards that eliminate the intimidation factor when building a board and pairing it with wines. Consumers can’t go wrong with tips such as, “Hot sopressata pairs well with a dry pinot noir from California. A luxurious, creamy cheese such as La Tur, an Italian variety of brie, is ideal with this charcuterie, but any soft ripe brie will do.”

Don't Forget the Wine and Fruit. “When it comes to charcuterie, tradition is just as important as innovation,” says Stephen Docherty, sales and marketing coordinator for Fiorucci Foods in Colonial Heights, Va. “When possible, cross merchandise charcuterie meats with wine, cheese and fruit.”

What's the Story? Let customers know the story behind the meat, says Docherty of Fiorucci Foods, whose meats are made the same way today as they were in the 1800s. “The most important ingredient in charcuterie meats: time.”

The Spread. Wegmans’ online guide to successful board building is full of helpful tips, including: set cheese and charcuterie out one hour before party time for best flavor; garnish platters with crostini, berries, candied walnuts, and marcona almonds; center chorizo on the cheese board, and arrange (folded and fanned) finocchiona beside it; and place rosette de lyon on the opposite side.

Go Experiment. Today’s consumers are looking for authentic, high-quality experiential food. Charcuterie absolutely delivers on all three of those attributes,” says Stephen Oberto of Oberto Snacks Inc., Kent, Wash.

Information, Please Make sure to educate shoppers on how the curing process affects flavor and aroma. Oberto Snacks imports 100% of its products from northern Italy, such as prosciutto that is dry-cured for 12-14 months. Its imported salame is dry-cured for 80 days and is never heat-treated, resulting in a smoother, more aromatic and less acidic taste.

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