Italian specialty meats in variety packs and grab-and-go options offer consumers ready solutions for everything from meals and simple snacking to upscale entertaining.

Specialty meats are just that, special, and consumers continue to demonstrate this is a category offering versatility and excitement. Highly popular, the category contains a variety of cured options led by specialty Italian meats with the inclusion of a smaller number of Spanish and German products.

Sitting at $1 billion, the fast-growing category recorded growth over 25% versus three years ago, according to IRI, Chicago. Even back in 2020, when many manufacturers chose to streamline and reduce SKUs, the category exhibited a penchant for variety and innovation.

In 2022, the category continues to show strong growth across most types from Genoa to Mortadella, but the highest-growing segments are Peppered, with consistent growth, and Milano, a relatively young segment in the United States with strong market growth, shared IRI. Innovation is also peaking among Prosciutto products, along with the strong growth of specialty meats in general, including aged beef products and unique protein types.

“Retailers are beginning to see the incremental revenue these products deliver, and progressive grocers are leaning in and capturing demand throughout the year, rather than just during the Q4 timeframe,” said Jean Stevens, director of sales, Volpi Foods, St. Lous.


Imported and American made

Easy to come by resources, especially when compared with other specialty meats, make salami an ideal specialty meat to flex with new consumer trends, according to Oliviero Colmignoli, founder and president, Olli Salumeria, Oceanside, Calif. For example, the company has created a salami and spirits experience where each salami is flavored and made with gin, bourbon or mezcal. Olli Salumeria is also seeing a rise in spicy flavors such as Calabrese and smoked flavors of hard salami.

New York-based Principe combines new world inventiveness and old world traditions with Vincenza’s American-style salumi. As the No. 1 producer of Prosciutto di San Daniele, the company is known for being skilled ham masters. In addition, the company also produces Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto Italiano, cooked hams, pre-sliced salami, speck (dry-cured smoked ham), Bresaola made from beef, Mortadella, Porchetta and Pancetta.

Imported from Italy, Citterio USA, Freeland, Pa., offers pre-sliced, charcuterie, snack, cubetti and organic options that include Prosciutto di Parma, Mortadella with pistachio, Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto di San Daniele, Porchetta, Grigliato (herb-cooked ham) and Tartufo (ham with truffle).

Volpi Foods is a producer of ready-to-eat premium, authentic specialty meats and ingredient packs designed to address ongoing trends of cooking at home. Combining two products experiencing exceptional growth, the company offers a Pepperoni and Chorizo product in the ingredient-forward format of crumbles.

In response to inflation, Volpi Foods is also seeing increased adoption of the company’s Small Bites. The individual serving, pre-sliced products feature Prosciutto and Sopressata, allowing consumers the ability to purchase a smaller portion at a lower price point.

Olli Salumeria also cited the trend of small snack packs that pair salami, cheese and/or other snacking components and larger multi-compartmental trays that serve 3-4 people. These products are often referred to as charcuterie in the United States but are viewed as antipasto in Italy, according to Colmignoli.