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Boar’s Head Brand Strategy Template: Way Beyond Meat to Hummus and More

Boar’s Head Brand Strategy Template: Way Beyond Meat to Hummus and More

Premium Deli Meat Brand Captures Surprising Market Share in Hummus Expansion

The $3.6 billion global hummus market is growing at a healthy 14.7%.  While the Middle East is the leading region for hummus consumption as “part of its diet culture,”   US hummus demand has been growing for years, with Sabra (a brand we wrote about previously) the #1 brand in the US market. This brand strategy template is about a surprising brand in the hummus market: Boar’s Head. 

As a consumer, I’ve known of Sabra brand hummus for at least 10 years and buy it as an appetizer when hosting a smaller gathering of friends at home. I haven’t given too much thought to other brand choices in hummus.

Introduced in 2016, Sabra brand hummus held a leading 62% share of the US hummus market  in first quarter 2021. Sabra market share fell to 46% in the second quarter of 2021 due to a production shutdown.  The Sabra brand grew by taking a nontraditional approach to hummus for the US consumer, with innovation in packaging and product.

To my surprise, I recently saw an advertisement for Boar’s Head hummus.  The advertising promises a perfectly crafted “traditional” hummus, and the call to action is “Compromise Elsewhere.” The tonality is very much in keeping with the overall Boar’s Head high quality, mass market positioning.  In reality, Boar’s Head introduced hummus in 2014, it’s just “new to me.” 

Boar’s Head Brand Strategy Template:
First Impressions

I historically associate the Boar’s Head brand with deli meats, cheeses and sandwich spreads. As it turns out, the Boar’s Head brand has been expanding into new categories for years. Our brand strategy template will delve into these expansions.

I’m a fan of Boar’s Head meat from the supermarket deli. I’ll buy it when purchasing turkey, roast beef and ham for everyday sandwiches.  Boar’s Head’s website characterizes the types of meat they offer as:

  • turkey
  • ham
  • beef
  • chicken
  • bologna
  • wursts & loaves
  • pre-sliced meat

While buying lunch meat at the local Ralph’s supermarket deli, I’ve also noticed and purchased Boar’s Head condiment sandwich spreads like the delicatessen-style mustard.  

Because of the condiments, I noted that Boar’s Head is expanding its brand to adjacent categories, but I was still surprised to see the advertisement for Boar’s Head hummus.

In my opinion, hummus is a bigger brand expansion strategy stretch than sandwich condiments. There’s no obvious connection between deli meat and cheese and hummus. Hummus is more associated with a vegetarian diet.  Hummus is typically not found at the deli counter where Boar’s Head has its beachhead. Additionally, I don’t use hummus on sandwiches, though I understand it can be a good option.

Boar’s Head Brand Strategy Template: Way Beyond Meat to Hummus and More

This made me curious about Boar’s Head’s brand strategy template for expansion into other categories, its company history, and how successful the hummus business is.

Boar’s Head Brand Strategy Template:
Company Overview

Founded in New York City in 1905, Boar’s Head (aka Frank Brunckhorst Co., LLC) is a family-owned company known for high-quality products.

Boar’s Head mission: is:

to be recognized as the leading provider of exceptional customer service and superior quality delicatessen products.”   

Now headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, Boar’s Head is estimated at $1.2 billion in 2021 revenue and around 2,700 employees.   EBITDA for 2021 is estimated at $72 million.

The company is known for its “aggressive” distributors and, as a private company, a secretive culture. 

Boars Head is a well-known brand name in the deli meat category, positioned as high quality for the mass market.  Bryan Curtis writes in Slate:

“At a cavernous suburban grocery store, Boar’s Head is often the best deli meat available.  At a tony provisioner, with expensive salami and capocollo, it’s often the worst meat available.”

Boar’s Head Brand Strategy Template:
How Successful is Boar’s Head Hummus?

To get a sense of Boar’s Head hummus business results, I looked to see how 10 large grocery chains feature hummus on their websites.

The table below summarizes the result for the hummus search, excluding cans and shelf-stable product. This competitive research is an important part of a brand strategy template.

 From this search, private label is a big factor in the hummus category in many retailers.  Private label has a large position, most likely as much as 15-25% of the market.

Sabra has a strong position at Target, Safeway and at Walmart for the snack containers.  Boar’s Head competes with Sabra at Publix, Kroger and H-E-B. 

Based on this qualitative analysis that only looks at large retailers, it looks like Boar’s Head hummus has carved out a position in the market, perhaps with a five to 12% market share.   

RetailerBrands that appear in “hummus”  search resultsTop brands using website as a gauge Walmart has 25% share of US grocery marketFresh Cravings  Marketside (Walmart private label) Hope Specialty Sabra (snack containers) Kirkland Organic (multipack of 4 oz) Veggicopia (single serve) Naya IthacaTop brands for standard packages: Fresh Cravings and Marketside   Sabra is used for its snack items (single serve to go) 7% share of US grocery marketNo results foundN/A 6% share of US grocery marketSabra Private Selection (Kroger private label) Boar’s Head Simple Truth Organic (Kroger private label) LantanaTop brands for standard packages: Sabra, Boar’s Head and Private Selection
Sam’s Club 5% share of US grocery marketMember’s Mark (Sam’s Club private label)Member’s Mark
Publix 4% share of US grocery marketBoar’s Head Sabra Lantana Cedar’s Foods Publix (Publix private label) Hope Athenos Fresh Cravings Haig’sTop selection for standard packages: Boar’s Head, Sabra
Target 4% share of US grocery marketSabra Good & Gather (Target private label)Top brands for standard packages: Sabra and Good & Gather
H-E-B 2% share of US grocery marketH-E-B (H-E-B private label) Central Market (H-E-B private label) Boar’s Head Cedar’s Foods SabraTop brands for standard packages: H-E-B and Central Market. Of the 3 branded players, Boar’s Head and Cedar’s are ahead of Sabra
Safeway 2% of US grocery marketSabra   O Organic (Safeway private label)   Signature Café (Safeway private label) Boar’s Head   Hope  Top brands for standard packages: Sabra is dominant, Boar’s Head is also present but behind private label
Whole Foods 2% share of US grocery market365 (Whole Foods private label) Cedar’s Foods  Baba Foods Positive Food Co Cava Ithaca Fresh ‘n Nova Revolutionary Earthy SabraTop brands for standard packages: 365 and Cedar’s have most popularity. No Boar’s Head and almost no Sabra
Dollar General 2% share of US grocery marketNo results foundNA

Ithaca Hummus, carried by Whole Foods and Walmart, recently announced its expansion into refrigerated salsa at the request of one of its retail partners. Food Navigator summarizes:

“Retailers investing in private label to cater to consumers trading down as inflation rises, simultaneously are looking to offset lower dollar sales with a broader selection of premium offerings that can boost basket rings – creating an opportunity for brands like Ithaca Hummus to expand into new categories.”

As far as hummus expansion, Boar’s Head even offers hummus platters with 24 hours’ notice at Publix.

Boar’s Head Brand Strategy Template: Way Beyond Meat to Hummus and More

Boar’s Head Brand Strategy Template:
Other Products

As Boar’s Head expands its brands to other categories, it consistently positions the products as premium quality based on expert crafting.  The black-and-gold packaging cues signal high quality and premium. The Boar’s Head target consumer is looking for a high-quality product, and the reassurance that the Boar’s Head brand brings.  The product flavors promise safe adventure, e.g., pepper or chipotle, nothing too out of the mainstream.

Boar’s Head has expanded its brand to other product categories beyond the deli, including hummus, spreads and dips, breakfast meats like bacon and sausage and snacks.

Based on Ithaca Foods move, will refrigerated salsa be next for Boar’s Head?

More insights on brand strategy templates can be found on our brand strategy resources page.  Or join us for an upcoming office hours.