Packaging Innovations Abound In Cheese & Charcuterie
I have seen an entire category grow rapidly over the last few years in the cheese and cured meat business brought on by packaging innovations. As you will read in the article in this issue by my colleague Marilyn Hirsch, packaging improvements have preserved freshness and prolonged shelf life, and provided producers the ability to bring together cheese & charcuterie with other complimentary snack items in an attractive package that really “pops” at point of purchase. The smaller snacking inspired and larger entertaining inspired antipasto plates are injecting some excitement into the assortment, and consumers are eating them up.
The key to appeal of this category seems to be the creativity and broad range of complimentary food items that have been paired perfectly together in the package such as crackers, cured olives, dried fruits, and salumi. The resulting presentations create appetizing offerings that are quite appealing to the consumer because they don’t have to think at all about what goes together or worry about sourcing the individual components on their own. It also allows the consumer to buy only what they need to enjoy the cheese and charcuterie experience without having to store extra quantities of the individual foods. Furthermore, it puts food producers in the driver seat to help consumers discover interesting pairings that they may never have thought of on their own, which should only increase consumption.
I am pleased to see the growth in this category because it addresses a potential shortcoming in the path to purchase. Up until now, I think we relied heavily on an appealing serving suggestion photo on the outside of the package that is intended to inspire a consumer to purchase a food product and turn it into an appetizing meal presentation. Or even worse yet, sometimes there is no inspiration at all, and we leave it to the consumer to make the connection. With this expanding category of product, we are able to go beyond the serving suggestion, and point the consumer directly to a turnkey cheese & charcuterie experience that will surely encourage repeat purchase.