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Consumers Continue To Crave Craft Meats


Food Business News

Protein snacks are hot, as are all things artisan.

That’s good news for producers of craft meats sold in grocery delis.

But suppliers aren’t resting on their laurels. A host of new craft products that tap into snacking, health, convenience and other trends show that the category is constantly evolving to meet its customers’ needs …

Craft meats meet craft beer

Columbus Craft Meats, a Hormel Foods Corp. brand, will offer a limited-time-only IPA Salami this holiday season, said Caviness Drake, brand manager. The product has notes of the citrus and floral hops flavors that India Pale Ale-style beers are known for, she said.

Craft beer is hot, so it’s no surprise that Columbus, which is known for its innovations in the artisan category, is on board.

“We have a pulse on emerging flavor trends and are constantly looking at which trends will taste great in our salami,” Ms. Drake said.

Craft meats, like craft beers, are enjoying a renaissance largely because of demographic shifts, Ms. Drake said.

“Millennials are a ‘foodie’ generation that love to entertain much more than previous generations,” she said. “They are searching for sophisticated eating experiences, and premium meat products deliver on that experience. As this generation continues to grow in purchasing power, we are expected to see continued growth in these premium meat products.”

Columbus continues to see “great growth” in products it has launched in the past few years, Ms. Drake said.

“Our 12-oz Charcuterie Sampler has become a must-have holiday item, and our paninos — meat and cheese rolled together —continue to grow in popularity both as a snack and entertaining option,” she said.

Hormel’s 2017 purchase of Columbus has opened up a “world of resources” the company didn’t have access to prior to the acquisition, Ms. Drake said.

“We have more research on our consumers now than ever before, and this will allow us to innovate for our millennial consumer more effectively,” she said. “We also have a more solid distribution system and supply chain network than before that will help the overall efficiency of our business.”

In addition, Columbus may now draw on the marketing expertise of the people behind renowned brands like Spam, Skippy and Hormel Pepperoni.

In July, Columbus added to its snacking meats portfolio with the addition of its four most popular salami products in a snack-size format: Original Italian Dry Salame; Genoa Salame; Pork Raised Without Antibiotics Ever Uncured Italian Dry Salame; and Pork Raised Without Antibiotics Ever Uncured Pepperoni.

That came just two months after the company launched three new Salami & Cheese Snacks products: Pork Raised Without Antibiotics Ever Uncured Genoa Salame paired with Provolone Cheese; Pork Raised Without Antibiotics Ever Uncured Genoa Salame paired with Provolone Cheese; and Pork Raised Without Antibiotics Ever Uncured Italian Dry Salame paired with White Cheddar Cheese.

Organic, antibiotic-free snacking

Columbus is seeing steady double-digit sales growth of its antibiotic-free products. The company is the second leading brand in all antibiotic-free pre-packaged meats in the U.S., Ms. Drake said

“We have plans to continue to add to this line, and we have several antibiotic-free products in the pipeline for the next couple of years,” she said.