Charcuterie was on the rise even before the pandemic, but its popularity sky-rocketed during it.

Post-pandemic, with shoppers now navigating inflation, it shows no sign of slowing down.

All products made by St. Louis-based Volpi Foods are a good fit for charcuterie boards – it’s the company’s specialty.

charcuterie board with Volpi packaging next to itSource: Volpi Foods

One item that stands out recently, trending on charcuterie boards, pizzas and pastas, is Volpi Traditional Prosciutto, said Claire Donohue, the company’s product marketing specialist.

It’s great alone, she said, but it can also add such a rich flavor when added to recipes, she said. Guanciale, a classic charcuterie staple, is another item trending for Volpi. It’s the perfect addition to carbonara or fried rice.

When it comes to industry-wide food trends, convenience is one that Volpi is tracking closely.

“As more people are on the move with work, school and everything in between, there isn’t as much time in the day to wait at the deli counter for your meat of choice to be sliced,” Donohue said. “Volpi has always been understanding of these changes among shoppers, and has added pre-sliced, chopped and snacking items to the product mix.”

One of Volpi’s newer charcuterie products is its Uncured Pepperoni & Chorizo Crumbles, which are perfect for topping pizzas and dips and for adding to pasta and sauces as well, Donohue said.

Bold and smoky with notes of paprika, pepperoncino flakes and fennel seed, the product makes elevating meals simple and fun, she added.

Another trend closely related to convenience is snacking, and it’s definitely effected the charcuterie category, Donohue said.

“There has been a huge shift in the way people eat, and snacking items have seen an uptick because of those changes. With more people back in the office and on-the-go, handheld charcuterie items like Volpi Roltini Singles are appealing to shoppers.”

With four flavors, 9 grams of protein and no sugar, Roltini Singles are the perfect snack for conscious consumers, she added.

The company’s most popular flavors are Pepperoni and Mozzarella and Prosciutto and Mozzarella. They’re marketed 5 or 10 to a pack at grocery retail.

Bread’s growing role

There are several reasons for the big increase in the popularity of charcuterie, said Neil Pittman, director of US Sales for St Pierre Bakery.

charcuterie board with loaves of breadSource: St Pierre Bakery

“The first is quite simply that charcuterie boards offer a simple solution for dinner that can be put together with an eye on cost while still delivering a restaurant-quality experience.”

It’s not uncommon, Pittman said, for restaurant trends to filter down to retail as consumers try to replicate experiences at home. In its 2023 culinary trends report, the National Restaurant Association listed charcuterie boards as the top-ranked appetizer of the year.

In the age of social media and influencers, he added, charcuterie boards also have strong visual appeal.

“Savvy retailers are taking note of the growing trend and merchandising in-store to help consumers who want to create quality charcuterie boards at home but are time-pressed. Grouping products together to offer inspiration – particularly in the in-store bakery and deli where shoppers go specifically for quick, but creative inspiration – can help retailers maximize sales.”

That, Pittman said, is why St Pierre offers a range of innovative merchandising solutions. St Pierre products can be sold by fridges, on table tops or in the middle of the aisle to disrupt the shopper journey.

The company’s product range, he said, inspires consumers. St Pierre finds that those consumers who upgrade to a quality bread product from St Pierre often go on to spend more on quality meats and cheeses, too. “The emergence of the charcuterie board as a hosting staple, impressing small gatherings, or elevating an everyday evening meal also means that shoppers are routinely trading up on staple goods. We have a fantastic repurchase rate – we’ve been consistently voted the best brand for taste, texture and appearance, making us America’s number one brioche brand.”

Retailers helping to drive trial of St Pierre products are securing future increased basket spend because its customers are loyal to the brand. What’s more, as the popularity of charcuterie continues to grow, it’s important that retailers can cater to demand.

St Pierre has market-leading fill rates which averaged 98.5% last year, so retailers can be sure they’re able to meet the needs of their shoppers.

What’s more, he added, as the trend evolves, St Pierre, with its lightly sweet flavor, is perfectly placed to accompany savory charcuterie and elevate sweet charcuterie boards – another growing trend that savvy retailers can tap into to drive sales in-store.

“Charcuterie boards are also not limited to meal occasions,” Pittman said. “As the trend has grown, along with meal occasions like brunch, the concept of sharing platters for breakfast, lunch and dinner is one that has been embraced by American shoppers. It’s fuss-free, easy, looks and taste great and offers an elevated at-home experience.”

St Pierre’s products are also designed to be enjoyed any time of day. It’s Brioche Bagels, Brioche rolls, Croissants and Brioche Subs can all cater to the charcuterie trend – regardless of the meal occasion. St Pierre products most-suited to the trend are in positive growth, too, with Brioche sliders up 20%, mini croissants up 12% and Sliced Brioche Loaf up 12%.

Another evolution of the charcuterie trend is the  “butter board.” Quality baked goods are central to the trend, and St Pierre is investing in research to keep ahead of the curve and deliver product and recipe inspiration via its marketing, Pittman said.