What to expect for festive gatherings in the fourth quarter

Charcuterie: a 15th century craze

Charcuterie first attracted attention at social gatherings in 15th-century France. In recent years, these deli meats have become very popular in the United States. According to the Tastewise website, the consumption of deli meats is increasing by 16.11% per year. Along with this growing popularity, charcuterie boards are becoming more and more creative.

“The trend continues to grow, with deli meats becoming mainstream,” observes Heather Prach, director of education at the Madison, Wis.-based International Dairy Deli & Bakery Association (IDDBA). “We now have brunch and dessert boards. People can cleverly arrange boards and accommodate all guests, even if they are vegan or gluten-free.

The content of the boards often goes beyond meat as a goal. One recipe site talked about a mango charcuterie platter with red wine vinegar, brown sugar, chili de arbol, turmeric, and mustard. “People aren’t afraid to mix salty and sweet,” says Prach. “You can mix things up and not be conventional.”

Some deli meats have become more refined. Deli leader Hormel focuses on artisan wine-infused salamis. Its point-of-sale materials and cross-merchandising tips tell a full deli service story, as do its social media initiatives. Using a graphic grid, Hormel offers pairings between cheeses, peppers, jelly, wines and more.

“People create a total experience,” says LaVallie. “We provide complete solutions.” Cost World Plus, she adds, does a great job of cross-merchandising Hormel deli meats with pairing suggestions.

Some boards even include fish. Genova Premium Seafood is using social media to discuss “grazing” suggestions for its premium tuna brand, according to Lara Berman, senior brand manager at El Segundo, California-based parent company Chicken of the Sea. Recently, Genova partnered with “Top Chef” judge and cookbook author Gail Simmons to develop a Romesco tuna salad board inspired by the Spanish condiment. Genova also held a contest in which 75 fans won a curated dinner collection.

The Genova Facebook page also offers pistachio pesto pasta recipes with asparagus and Arrabbiata tuna linguine. Arrabbiata is a spicy Italian sauce made with garlic, tomatoes and peppers.

“Preferences for heavily spiced foods have steadily increased over the past decade,” adds Berman. “Tuna is the perfect protein to eat plain or spiced up. Consumers aged 19 to 44 are more likely than their older counterparts to try international cuisines. It is an indicator of the future growth of international cuisine.

Social media has sparked interest in international cuisine. TikTok introduced people to quesabirria, a quesadilla filled with birria meat, Tyson’s Harrison notes. Birria, a beef stew from Jalisco, Mexico, exemplifies the growing popularity of regional cuisines.

Social media trends can travel fast. “What started with a TikTok influencer is being discussed in national media,” Berman observes. “Something on Twitter is suddenly picked up by Bon Appetit.”

Sara H. Byrd