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Slowly but surely over the past several years, consumers’ taste buds have changed, both literally and figuratively.
One recent report from Packaged Facts and San Francisco-based CCD Innovation, for example, shows that hot and spicy flavors, including those with hot pepper and smoky profiles, continue to gain a foothold in the mainstream market.
In another indication that the deli market is, to borrow a cheesemaking term, ripe for new varieties that appeal to consumers’ expanded palate, manufacturers of both cheeses and deli meats continue to roll out new products based on diverse, intense flavors. If the American palate is no longer vanilla, it has expanded beyond American cheese, too.
• DCI Cheese Co., Richfield, Wis., has introduced three new items to its award-winning line of blue-veined cheeses. Salemville Smokehaus Blue (sold as 4-ounce wedges) is an applewood-smoked cheese with a slightly sweet and lightly smoky flavor. Salemville Reserve (4-ounce wedges and crumble cups) is a premium blue-veined cheese that undergoes extensive aging for an earthier flavor. The launch, which coincides with new packaging, is supported by new promotional materials and contests.
• Following demand from specialty retailers and consumers since its debut at the 2011 Global Cheese Awards, Plymouth, Wis.-based Sartori announced the availability of its Paolo Sartori Limited Edition Extra Aged Goat Cheese. That variety, which won a Silver Medal at last year’s cheese awards, features savory, caramel notes balanced by a citrusy flavor. What defines its flavor is the aging process, which Sartori allegedly has been perfecting for years.
• Boar’s Head has unveiled a new Boar’s Head Bold line of globally inspired deli meats and cheeses. The more intensely flavored deli meats from Sarasota, Fla.-based Boar’s Head include a Jerk Turkey Breast and a Chipotle Chicken breast, while kicked-up cheeses include a 3 Pepper Colby Jack Cheese and a Chipotle Gouda, infused with the flavors of Veracruz, Mexico.
From the “Bacon Makes Everything Better” Files …
Given the fact that bacon-infused vodkas, bacon-flavored popcorn and, heck, even bacon-designed apparel have become ubiquitous in recent years, it’s not surprising that bacon has become an inclusion and flavoring in deli products.
While many grocery delis sell fresh sliced bacon behind the counter, bacon has found its way into everything from potato salads to bacon-topped prepared meatloaf. Now, the Eckrich brand, from the John Morrell Food Group subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, has put its money where the belly is, introducing a new Bacon Lovers line of deli meats.
The deli meats in this line are, indeed, made with real bacon and include Bacon Covered Ham, Bacon Ranch Chicken Breast, Bacon Covered Club, Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast with Bacon and Peppered Bacon Covered Roast Beef. Officially unveiled in May, the Bacon Lovers Line is supported by launch promotions and a collection of recipes for shoppers.
Better For You, Too
Of course, as this is a country of many and sometimes conflicting tastes, bacon can peacefully co-exist in the marketplace with better-for-you foods. While interest in bacon flavors remains strong, so too, do consumer concerns about diet and health.
To that point, processors are offering healthy options for the deli section. One example is a new line of Smart Nature deli meats from Canadian processor Olymel. With 2 grams of fiber per serving, the deli meats are available in several varieties, including shaved ham, chicken and turkey and in different profiles, from cooked to smoked.