12 Best-in-class CPG brands fighting for a spot on your charcuterie board

By Chelsea Stone

8 min read

February 2, 2021

What do shoppers look for when selecting items for the perfect charcuterie board? And what can smaller CPG manufacturers and brands learn from the best-in-class brands in their respective snacking categories? Let’s take a closer look at: spreads, olives, pickles, crackers, specialty dried breads and meat variety packs. 

 

Ruth’s Pimento Cheese Spread

Ruths pimento cheese

No marketing gimmicks or fancy packaging here – just a legacy brand with a foundation of loyal shoppers and a homemade taste that keeps shoppers coming back for more. The brand stays true to an old regional recipe that cheese lovers around the country crave. Ruth’s simplistic, no fuss branding and connection to its home in North Carolina have proven a successful formula.

 

Laughing Cow Spreadable Swiss Cheese

Laughing Cow spreadable cheese

If consumers trust the South for their expertise in pimento cheese, then they trust the French for their expertise in the rest. The Laughing Cow is another legacy brand that has maintained shopper loyalty and wide distribution while the parent manufacturer, Fromageries Bel, has kept its brand portfolio fresh by evolving with consumer trends, for example, with the addition of the BabyBel product line.

 

Divina Black Olives

Divina black olivesDivina has a wide and varied portfolio of products that will keep any fan of a Mediterranean mezze busy. Stuffed olive varieties, tapenades and fig spreads present premium options to shoppers looking for niche items, but their best-selling item still remains black olives – demonstrating that sometimes, the crowd-pleasing choice is the best choice (for your brand portfolio and for your Superbowl guests). 

 

Mario’s Green Pimento Stuffed Olives

Mario pimento stuffed olives

Mario pimento-stuffed olives (or “pimiento” depending on your perspective) remain a fan favorite after four generations of additional products from Mario Camacho foods. They command one of the most expansive product distributions in the olive category, so no matter where you go in the US, you’re likely to find Mario olives on the shelves.

 

Bubbies Bread and Butter Pickles

Bubbies pickles

Here’s a trick for every start-up brand reading this and wondering, “How do I gain the credibility of a legacy brand if I only just began last year?” Build your brand around a history, even if the brand itself didn’t exist for most of it. That was the marketing genius behind Bubbies, a brand that began in 1982 but incorporated an Old World feel into their brand identity, even adding a black and white photo of an imagined “Bubby”. 

 

Wickles Pickle Chips

Wickles pickles

Wickles Pickles also uses clever marketing to build legacy credibility – without the legacy. Their website photography makes use of old timey photo filters and boasts a recipe 90 years in the making – “kept secret ‘til 1998”. They’re a great example of how smart branding can make a new product feel traditional – a decision proved successful by their strong sales and distribution growth. 

 

Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisps

Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisps

These tasty crackers aren’t just your regular premium picks. They’ve approached their branding in a very deliberate way. For one, Lesley Stowe is a real person – a Parisian-trained chef endorsed by the likes of Oprah herself. Instead of leaning into the healthy foods trend, their marketing team has built a brand dedicated to artisanal, small batch, high quality crackers that pair perfectly with your favorite French cheese – literally, each item includes a list of perfect pairings, and consumers can find more entertaining tips on their website. 

 

La Panzanella Rosemary Crackers

La Panzanella Rosemary Crackers

La Panzanella’s branding shouts “Italy” to American consumers: the name itself, the website’s imagery reminiscent of rolling Tuscan countrysides, and even a bilingual option if you prefer to view in French. You might be surprised, then, to learn that this brand got its start in Seattle. Despite their growth, they’ve remained family-owned, and have taken pains to retain that “small batch” spirit in their branding. 

 

Asturi Bruschettini Classic Olive Oil Flavor

Asturi Bruschettini

Cracker consumers can rest assured that Asturi’s classic olive oil bruschettini genuinely hail from Italy – a quick look at their online shop will reveal copy written by a non-native English speaker. (If this was a deliberate marketing decision, it is a uniquely brilliant way to convey authenticity.) The brand also leans into trending product attributes like “natural” and “non-GMO” to position the brand as a wholesome choice for your next appetizer spread.

 

Busseto Pepperoni

Busseto Pepperoni

With all the charcuterie options available on the average grocery shelf today, Busseto is proof that sometimes consumers just want the tried and true option: pepperoni, in this case. As a family of brands, Busseto has taken a page out of the same book as Bubbies and Wickles – while the company is based in California, they rely on the story of their in-house “salumiere” – an Italian native – to build a brand that knows charcuterie.

 

Volpi Prep Sopressa

Volpi Sopressa

Likewise, Volpi relies on the heritage of its founder, Milanese immigrant John Volpi to tell the story of a brand steeped in history. The manufacturer’s prep line also makes it easy for shoppers to prepare their favorite spread – pre-sliced and arranged sopressa and other aged meats make constructing the perfect charcuterie a breeze.

 

Colameco’s Capocollo

Colameco facebook post

Colameco’s has taken a different approach with their marketing, instead emphasizing the health benefits their products offer. By emphasizing trending product attributes like “natural”, “gluten-free”, “non-GMO”, launching promotions at retailers like Whole Foods, and creating social media posts to show how their products suit a keto diet, they are targeting a growing niche of hungry consumers.

 

Learn more from best-in-class CPG brands in your category

 

Wherever there’s competition, there’s the need to know who’s best. The Brand Ranking Report is that leaderboard.

The Brand Ranking report lists all of the brands in a category and ranks them by total sales. But it also includes many underlying metrics that contribute to sales growth, including share of category distribution and growth per point of distribution. Understanding how category leaders perform according to those metrics provides a reliable benchmark for your performance. It also points out which brands are poised to rise or fall in the rankings. Hone in on what’s holding back your brand’s growth, whether it’s a dominant brand taking an outsized share of category sales, or lagging distribution, or something else entirely.

Importantly, the Brand Ranking Report will show you how leading brands are maintaining their position. See how brands that are moving up the rankings are achieving their growth rates. Understanding what contributes to brands’ rankings helps you emulate growth strategies and avoid potential limitations.

 

Sample of the Brand Ranking report

Click on the image to take a closer look.

 

So, when we talk about “best-in-class” as we have in the list above, these are the brands we’re talking about – those who have achieved consistently high marks across key metrics (in this case, sales and distribution). 

 

Learn more about your brand’s performance with a free alert and report today.

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