Canadian Packaging

Piller’s whips it real good

Deli meat processor keeps the hits going in the snacking segment with new tasty meat sticks.


July 14, 2017
by Canadian Pakaging staff

With consumer demand for protein-rich, shelf-stable meat snacks continuing to grow at a healthy pace, a venerable Ontario meat processor is shaking up the lucrative product category with an innovative range of wood-smoked meat sticks boasting a refreshingly soft texture and a unique, long-and-slender shape with whip-like flexibility.

Produced according to authentic European recipes at the Piller’s Fine Foods production facility in Brantford, Ont., the recently-launched Piller’s Salami Whips brand of naturally wood-smoked, semi-dry cured sausage sticks offer meat-lovers a truly innovative alternative to the traditional meat jerkies and dry pepperoni sticks dominating the niche segment.

Retailing at leading grocers across Canada—excluding Quebec—the flavorful meat sticks are packaged in resealable 100-gram and single-serve 15-gram flexible packages, supplied by Winnipeg-based Winpak Ltd., that make them a perfect snacking companion for lunchboxes, light meals and snacking on-the-go, according to Piller’s.

Offering a tender bite, high protein content, and zero MSG and any other major food allergens like gluten, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, mustard, sesame, egg, fish, soy and sulphites, the Piller’s Salami Whips are currently offered in three tasty flavors, including:

  • Salami Whips Mild: traditional German salami with notes of black pepper and exotic spices;
  • Salami Whips Spicy: traditional Central European salami with robust onion, garlic and habanero notes;
  • Salami Whips Kabanosy: traditional Polish salami with garlic and paprika.

“Our new salami whips are created to meet consumers’ needs for artisanal products that do not appear mass-produced, and are free from major food allergens,” says Piller’s marketing manager Stephanie Egan.

“Piller’s Salami Whips represents a unique combination of technology and format innovation,” Egan explains, “while staying true to Piller’s time-honored traditions of salami-making—the best of both worlds.

“The slender ‘buggy whip’ shape is widely available in Europe,” Egan relates, “but this is the first whip-shaped product available in Canada’s leading grocery stores.

“The product has a soft bite as a result of using a new vegetable-based casing technology, not used in any other meat stick product in Canada,” says Egan, also citing “a resurgence of interest in charcuterie, as seen by the popularity of restaurant menu offerings.

“When placed on a charcuterie tray, the product’s distinct artisanal look is a real crowd-pleaser,” says Egan, complementing outstanding packaging design work for the new product executed by the Toronto-based branding agency Weaymouth Creative.

Says Egan: “The packaging design has two large window areas, allowing the consumer to see the product, and it uses an ivory-colored, wooden-textured backdrop to communicate the lightness of this product, with its low calories
and absence of allergens.

“The design also incorporates images of the natural spices in the ingredients, which differs by variety but include onion, garlic, red bell pepper, ginger and cloves,” says Egan, also complimenting Waterloo-based boxmaker Beresford Box Company Inc. for replicating the uplifting design on display boxes and other secondary packaging for the new brand.

Already a winner of the high-profile 2017 Best New Product Award, as voted by Canadian consumers surveyed by Toronto-based BrandSpark Research, and a finalist in the upcoming 2016 Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards ceremony of the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), the new salami whips are produced using decades-old natural aging, curing and smoking processes, rather than liquid smoke used by most other brands in the meat-stick segment.

According to Piller’s, the resealable 100-gram packs feature an unobtrusive peel-off pull tab that helps the whips maintain up to 150-day shelf-life inside a fridge.

“Authenticity continues to be a key trend in food, including snack foods, with consumers increasingly interested in ‘real food’ and a return to the values of craftsmanship and time-honored traditions,” says Egan, citing recent Nielsen consumer research showing meat-based snacks to be outpacing the growth of other popular snacks like chips and corn snacks, dry fruit and nuts.

“Much of the growth in meat snacks is being driven by millennials,” Egan proclaims. “Snack foods are the most commonly found consumer packaged goods in millennials’ shopping baskets.

“With easy-open and resealable features offering practical convenience and versatility for snacking on-the-go, our new whips really deliver on consumers’ growing desire for great-tasting, protein-rich deli meat snacks that are convenient and portable,” she adds.

According to the Nielsen survey, snacking between meals has increased dramatically in the last two years in Canada, with four out of 10 Canadian consumers now snacking as a meal replacement.

“Consumers are also looking for ways to balance healthy, purposeful snacking with their desire for indulgent and emotionally satisfying snacks,” the report states.

Celebrating its 60th anniversary this years, the Waterloo, Ont.-Piller’s Fine Foods is one of North America’s leading producers of specialty European deli meats—employing over 600 people at production plants in Brantford and Arthur, Ont., as well as at its central distribution facility in Waterloo.

More information on Piller’s is available at www.pillers.com.