The versatility of specialty deli meats

Along with offering intriguing flavor profiles, one of the appeals of the Italian specialty meat category is its versatility. Out-of-the-box options cater to high-end snacks, simple meals, brunches, and entertainment with holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and July 4 indexing the highest.

Although demand peaks during times when consumers want to create a memorable experience, Italian specialty meats are also well suited for everyday indulgence. That includes enhancing salads with chopped prosciutto or swapping peppered salam for regular deli ham, according to Jean Stevens, sales manager, Volpi Foods, St. Louis.

Oliviero Colmignoli, Founder and President, Olli Salumeria, Oceanside, CA, echoed this, saying salami adds new interest to pizza and as a component of pies. These meats are also in demand as a convenient snack or a quick protein snack throughout the day, Stevens continued.

“By labeling products with protein legends, we are able to leverage the popularity of protein in packaging and sales pitches, Colmignoli said. “Through R&D, we are able to introduce new, innovative salami flavors that keep our product fresh in people’s minds.”

This includes a focus on education and inspiration within the category. Columbus Craft Meats, a division of Hormel, Austin, Minnesota, offers a number of entertainment items, including the Columbus Charcuterie Tasting Board and the Columbus Grand Charcuterie Sampler.

Columbus Craft Meats Ready-to-Serve Tasting Board includes salt, cheese, crackers, olives and chocolate covered cranberries in a convenient, premium wrapper tray. Its Deli Sampler features six premium salamis enclosed in a wrapper that features thoughtful pairing selections.

“The deli category continues to grow, with more consumers searching for deli meats online, consuming them at home and in restaurants, and sharing their experiences on social media,” said Sean McNeil, senior director of brand at Columbus Craft Meats. “We continue to educate and inspire our consumers through our website, in-store signage, product packaging and social media. »

where to find it

With such incredible growth in the category, one would also assume a related expansion of the deli counter. Instead, sales are down 3.7% from a year ago and 4.2% from two years ago. There are also similar drops in the serving area for non-Italian specialty meats. Those still battling lingering pandemic fears are opting to visit deli take-out areas and stand-alone displays instead.

Takeout, a segment up 7.9% from a year ago and 58.9% from two years ago, offers consumers both convenience and a way to streamline the process of selecting complementary specialty meats. With Variety Packs, consumers never have to guess if they’ve chosen a tasty pairing. The ability to participate in a range of options also allows consumers to learn how subtle differences in curing and grinding can create a distinct product.

“Consumers want a simple solution for the charcuterie board, and the variety packs help them easily determine which meats complement each other, rather than having to try and select 2-4 types of meat that pair well,” Amanda said. Evans, consultant, client insights, IRI.

Because of this growth, retailers are making room around entertainment sets, she continued. These are often areas adjacent to specialty cheeses and other items that are instrumental in creating the ever-popular charcuterie platter. This is expected to continue to be a high-growth sector as consumers seek a one-stop destination that includes complementary items such as specialty meats, cheeses, pickles, olives, honey, specialty crackers, dried fruit, chocolate, dips and wine.

“Consumers want to have everything in one place,” she continued. “They are looking for an elevation of a basic meat and cheese platter – an assortment of their choosing – with a variety of items and pairings. Trying out these products allows consumers to upgrade to more sophisticated items and provides exposure to new segments.

Value proposition

These new segments are particularly attractive to a number of demographic groups. The 17th annual Power of Meat study by FMI – The Food Industry Association and the North American Meat Institute found that consumers opt for in-home restaurant-like experiences over delivery and in-restaurant dining with 80% of meals eaten at home. This includes a preference for foods and beverages that provide unique flavors and unique dining experiences, according to The Hartman Group’s Shifting Food Habits and Routines – 2021 Eating Occasions.

With the cost of meat, particularly beef, nearly 20% higher than in 2021, consumers will be looking for ways to enjoy these products more profitably. The combination of inflation at its highest level in 40 years and higher input costs (grain, labour, fuel and transport) will continue to impact consumers and their wallets for a while. some time yet.

While these higher prices will reduce the frequency of purchases for certain demographic groups, younger generations are bucking this trend, seeing their purchases as a way to support their values. As a result, Millennials and Gen Z consumers who possess increased purchasing power are changing the landscape with regards to how producers, brands, and retailers think about sustainability practices.

According to the Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z survey, the willingness to pay more for sustainable products, coupled with the belief in the power of the individual consumer to embrace change, will continue to drive spending among these younger generations. This also includes sourcing specialty meats with animal welfare claims such as fed vegetarian, vegan, organic, and antibiotic-free/hormone-free.

Olli Salumeria strives to achieve sustainability with post-consumer recycled content (PCR) initiatives in its packaging and safer, more humane animal husbandry.

“While convenience is all the rage, it’s also very exciting to see many of the high-end artisanal salami companies being drawn into mainstream, everyday market spaces,” Colmignoli said. “It means consumers are paying more attention to quality ingredients, cleaner labels and sustainable animal welfare.”

Volpi Foods’ Raised Responsibly promise ensures that its fresh meat is sourced from partners who put animal welfare and agricultural biodiversity first. In 2021, Volpi Foods worked directly with its partners to divert over 45 tonnes of single-use plastic through its Eco-Pack Innovations.

“It’s important that retailers and manufacturers continue to deliver the highest quality, best tasting deli meats that consumers crave,” McNeil concluded. “This will lead to increased repetition and adoption, which will ultimately grow the category even further.”