It’s incredible how quickly charcuterie boards rose to prominence during the pandemic. Although charcuterie boards already existed in social gatherings for hundreds of years, becoming a prominent affair in 15th century France, it is ironic how the business boomed today when most people were stuck at home.
With nothing to do but pass the time and distract themselves from the pandemic, charcuterie boards became trendy - with the charcuterie hashtag alone in Instagram yielding over two million posts.
The charcuterie board business in the U.S. then and now
Charcuterie board in the early 2000s wasn’t in anyone’s vocabulary. Charcuterie was often thought of as a type of salami. You can’t easily convince people to try pairing cheese with something made out of liver or a cured offal.
A story from Insider detailed how Marissa Mullen’s charcuterie book idea, shelved back in 2018, opened another world of career for her in 2020 with a company, “That Cheese Plate.” Today, Marissa’s Instagram accounts amassed more than 300,000 followers and counting.
Who would think that years later, in a curious set-up like a pandemic, one could make a legitimate business by just arranging a charcuterie board with Instagram as the mainstay marketing buddy?
Long gone are the days where charcuterie was a niche hobby, with a little Googling and typing correct keywords like “charcuterie board catering,” “charcuterie board delivery,” “order a charcuterie board,” “where to buy a charcuterie board,” or “charcuterie board online,” find myriads of charcuterie board online businesses in the search results.
Some restaurants still offer charcuterie on their menus, while other businesses opt to be an all-in-one caterer where they’re the ones that set-up and source the things and food elements needed in a charcuterie-type of gatherings.
The pandemic triggered a new breed of charcuterie board businesses in the U.S., all in the name of “convenience.”
Innovative charcuterie board businesses like Platterful have begun offering a subscription-type charcuterie board delivery service that covers the logistics of sourcing quality goods in different parts of America and delivering them to the customer’s home monthly.
Influencers have been making a career out of sheer creativity in uploading “eye-gasmic” shots of charcuterie boards on Instagram, uploading charcuterie-related contents (ASMRs, tutorials, Mukbang, etc.) on YouTube, and more.
Factors leading up to the boom of the charcuterie board business in the US
Those two million Instagram posts previously mentioned didn’t spring forth out of anywhere, though, and there were reasons how it got to this point.
The pandemic did a number on what everybody could do. Suddenly, you couldn’t go out for weeks, and there was only so much time video games and Netflix could fill in.
Completing a charcuterie board had a different kind of allure to millennials during the pandemic
But charcuterie had a different kind of allure that sets it apart from other food hobbies for millennials. It primarily had no cooking involved, and it engages people’s creative side.
There was a sense of low risk, affordability, ease of accessibility, and convenience in completing a charcuterie board.
“foodies and younger generations are likely to be targeted with convenient snack packs, pre-made pairings, and multiple component offerings,” said Emanuela Bigi, marketing manager of Township, in a blog.
It's Affordable in General
With an influx of people looking to buy a charcuterie board, businesses allowed people to order a charcuterie board online without breaking the bank.
While it is true that one can drop top-dollar to make a board, charcuterie board businesses showed that there is a board for almost any budget.
It gives you a dietary and creative freedom
Charcuterie boards, and by extension businesses, caters to most dietary needs. What sucks about some food-related hobbies is that there is bound to be someone out there that can’t enjoy it due to allergies or a strict lifestyle.
But charcuterie boards allow everyone to design a charcuterie board however they want so long as it follows the spirit of charcuterie.
“Part of the excitement about the category is innovation in flavors and packaging that these domestic producers are offering and given all of the cross-cultural influence in food throughout the United States, charcuterie flavor profiles are virtually limitless,” as per Scott Bridi, founder of Brooklyn Cured in an interview with Meat + Poultry.
A healthier and environment-friendly food option
Healthy food and environment-friendly options are always going to be on-trend. People adhering to such mindsets are willing to pay a high price for good nutrition and saving the planet.
People want healthier food options, consciously moving away from fillers, preservatives, and other dodgy food choices. Because charcuteries are either cured or smoked, they’re immediately a hit for health and environment-conscious folks.
Is a charcuterie board business profitable?
While charcuterie boards are popular and businesses related to them are emerging from almost anywhere, it’s normal to think if they’re profitable or if it’s just a fad ready to drift away anytime.
The charcuterie business made Monisha Misra more than $100k richer after nine months, all of which were done on the side of her day job.
In an interview from Side Hustle Nation, Monisha started after donating snack platters to essential workers at the start of the pandemic. Days later, some of those staff reached out to see if they could order some more.
Soon, she made a test Instagram post to gauge interest, and she had more than 20 DMs from total strangers in just 2 hours. Then, a little push from her husband, who saw the potential, and they began from there.
Monisha Misra is just one of the testaments, paid a hundredfold when a business (any type of business with a solid demand/market) is done right.
Retailers also see a steady rise in charcuterie demand.
The GIANT Company, an American supermarket chain based in Pennsylvania, added charcuterie stations in their stores. The charcuterie station trend in groceries is expected to be replicated soon by other retailer giants.
Raley's Supermarkets saw a steady trend of huge charcuterie tray sales in their stores. This consumer activity prompted them to add more offerings at their stores.
Charcuterie businesses to check out
The people at Platterful offer a subscription service on charcuterie boards, the first true charcuterie subscription brand that provides a new box to their customers monthly.
Platterful partners with small artisan food makers throughout the United States, which allows customers to taste all of America’s best food vendors in one box.
Each customer gets the exact amount of products needed to make a beautiful, full board with an informational card that talks about the items in the box and how to construct the board.
Overall, Platterful’s offerings save the customer time and money versus going out and overbuying from full-size products.
Follow their Instagram account @tryplatterful to get updates on their latest offerings.
The Charcute Queen
Based in Columbus, Ohio, The Charcute Queen offers charcuterie cups and cones for as little as $10 to the massive Grazing Table, a 6ft x 3ft long table filled edge to edge with charcuterie goodness.
Aside from your typical charcuterie board needs, The Charcute Queen also offers an hour-and-a-half long class that teaches you how to build a board and everything you need to make it.
Boards by Mo
From a simple desire to help out during the start of the pandemic, Boards by Mo now specializes in charcuterie arrangements and more. They offer your classic small charcuterie tray from $55 to XL-sized ones from $225. It doesn’t end there as they also offer grazing tables perfect for events.
What’s more, is that they also offer virtual corporate classes and workshops. These virtual classes are perfect even for remote teams as they can send ingredients right to their doorstep.
Lady and Larder
While the people at Lady and Larder offer classic charcuterie boards, they also have farmer’s market fruit boards for those that prefer a lighter experience. Choose from simple cheese and market fruit boards to a full-on farmer's market selection.
Another draw to Lady and Larder is a gift basket service that sends your receiver the ingredients they need but allows them the freedom to make it as they want it.