The recipe hasn't changed, but Uncle Charley’s Sausage's now defunct bright yellow packaging featuring a cartoon pig has experienced a radical makeover with a fresher, cleaner look to better communicate a leaner pork product inside.
The rebranding comes on the heels of the company acquiring a strategic food safety certification and represents the next piece of the puzzle of CEO Len Caric's overall strategy to modernize and grow the premium brand’s market share beyond the Pittsburgh region.
“We want more moms and dads to experience the Uncle Charley’s difference and we believe that the new packaging better signals the premium product’s appeal," says Caric, noting its updated “truth in labeling” nutritional information that provides calorie counts based on realistic portion sizes, such as actual patties or links.
The company received USDA approval on expanding from 14 different labels to 44 products. Customers will still recognize the Uncle Charley’s name written in the same red script and be better able to pick out sausage varieties with bright pink, green and blue labels against mostly black packaging.
One year after Caric took leadership of Uncle Charley's, the company has made significant strides, including updating equipment for improved efficiencies and acquiring Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification, opening the door for increased distribution. Sales have increased by more than 10 percent, according to Caric, and the company has increased its employee count by nearly 20 percent, even while providing significant wage increases to all production employees and delivery drivers.
Future expansion plans include the possibility of adding an additional shift and several new employees to keep pace with the expected increase in production.
“We believe in this high-quality product and in the opportunity we have as a growing company to get it into more markets and ultimately onto more kitchen tables,” explained Caric. “The rebranding and repackaging was a challenging but critical piece of our overall strategy and we’re very excited to see it hit the shelves.”
With the phrase “fresh, honest and delicious” in red italics and clearer nutritional labeling, the new look conveys the quality that goes into the premium product including:
- Premium cuts of pork in natural or collagen casings, resulting in leaner meat and higher protein than their competitors – 22-38 percent less fat than USDA Standards – with a richer taste.
- Gluten-free with no corn syrup, nitrates, nitrites, BHT or BHA.
- A careful blend of locally sourced spices, perfected for nearly three decades by the company’s founder, Charles Armitage.
Armed with a fresh, new look and SFQ certification, Caric’s goal is to expand distribution to stores within 350 miles of its Pittsburgh-area production facilities.