However, it’s ever easier to recreate at home flavours and eating styles sampled in restaurants and abroad, using shop-bought ingredients. One such style increasing in UK popularity is tapas, small portions of foods ideal for sharing around the table, or as the weather improves, in the garden or on a picnic.
Originating in Spanish bars as ‘tit-bits’ of food used to entice customers in, ‘tapas’ is now often used to describe a group style of eating enabling all to enjoy a little of everything.
Cured meats are integral to tapas and are perfect for consumers entertaining at home. In fact, the UK market for continental meats, particularly from Spain, has seen growth, as half of households regularly purchase these products*, perhaps fuelled by the increasing number of celebrity chefs featuring them in recipes.
However, only a handful of brands can satisfy a key factor in consumer selection – provenance.
Smithfield Foods, via Argal, Aoste and Justin Bridou, has supplied the UK with high quality, traditional continental meats for years and provides a wide range of products made to authentic recipes by time-honoured methods.
Argal, the Spanish bench-mark in cured meats, offers a broad range of products representing the best of Spanish tradition, including chorizos, salchichón and popular sliced meats such as Serrano and Iberian ham.
A significant charcuterie brand on the continent, Aoste is the leader in cooked meats in France, and for over 30 years has combined the freshest ingredients with renowned expertise, producing classic saucisson sec ring and other French salamis. The Justin Bridou range includes traditional saucisson sec which has proven very popular with the UK market.
Smithfield also offers a range of continental meat brands from other countries, such as Polish cured meats including Kabanos and Wiejska, and a variety of Italian pepperonis, salamis and cured hams, perfect for tapas.
Much investment is being made in 2009 to extend all ranges further to offer a full complement of cured meats from across Europe. In support there will be press advertising and editorial, coupon marketing, sampling, multi-buy promotions, recipe cards across different categories and themed country-based activities.
To maximise the increasing popularity of tapas, these products are best marketed alongside other products ideal for creating the perfect menu, such as continental cheeses, breads and antipasti, for example olives and sundried tomatoes.
* TNS 52w 30 Nov 08
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