Everyone is posting their charcuterie boards on social media, but they don’t show you the planning and prep that happens behind the scenes. Read ahead to find out if you should DIY your board or buy a pre-made platter from a catering company to pair with your wines.
Many catering companies have started to specialise in charcuterie boards, sourcing the finest ingredients from all over the world and presenting them in a beautiful formation for charcuterie-lovers across Singapore. Whether you’re craving your favorite meat-and-cheese combo or want to cater your birthday with a party platter, you may wonder if you can do it yourself or if you should leave it in the hands of professionals.
In this article, we break down the costs of buying a ready-made platter versus making one yourself to see which one will provide the best value for your buck.
Average Cost of A Charcuterie Board From A Catering Company
Charcuterie boards have come a long way from their roots. What once was dedicated to the art of prepared meats has now evolved into an extravagant display of various cold cuts, cheese, fruits, vegetables, nuts, crackers, and more. For this reason, charcuterie boards are often seen as expensive items for high-end events. However, the cost is not as frightening when it comes to price per pax.
The average 1-person charcuterie board costs approximately S$31, which may seem like a good deal if you consider the various imported ingredients on the plate. However, it’s worth noting that the best value boards are those built for 6 pax or more.
Based on average costs, charcuterie for more people actually reduces the cost per pax. A 6/10 pax, for example, is between S$18 and S$30 per pax, depending on how many people you are feeding within the 6 to 10 range. For charcuterie boards under 6 people, you may end up paying the same or more per pax than you would for a personal platter. For instance, a 4/6 pax may be cost-effective if 6 people are eating, but the cost per pax for 4 people (S$32.35) results in higher costs than a 1-person board.
The Costs Of Making Your Own Charcuterie Board
A DIY charcuterie board can be whatever you want it to be; however, a standard platter generally consists of at least 10 ingredients, with emphasis on meats, cheese, fruits and crackers. For the sake of simplicity, other ingredients like olives, gherkins, nuts, vegetables, dips, and sweets can be considered add-ons.
Since not all of your favorite cheese and deli meats can be found at your local grocery store, you may have to source charcuterie ingredients from gourmet markets. These specialty stores sell international products at higher prices, as seen in the high budget column in the table above. Therefore, you could buy 200g of your salami for S$16.90 at a gourmet store, or save up to 57% by opting for a cheaper salami at Redmart.
While your local grocery may not have a full stock of international cheeses and meats, they generally have fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other staples of a charcuterie board. However, your local grocers may sell differently sourced products, which is important to consider if you want to minimise your total costs. For instance, you could buy 250g of Japanese strawberries for S$19.95, or you can save S$11.05 by opting for Korean strawberries.
Catered or DIY: Which Should You Choose?
If an average person consumes up to 90 grams of a charcuterie board, then the DIY charcuterie board built in the table above could feed approximately 24 people. Both low budget and high budget total costs are less than the average cost of a 15/20 pax retail charcuterie board (S$375), meaning it can be cheaper to do it yourself.
However, it’s important to note that you may not want to buy so many products in bulk. Since many food products at the grocery are sold at set weights, it’s not always possible to acquire minimal ingredients for smaller serving sizes.
Charcuterie companies do not face this problem, and they also don’t need to limit their boards to a few ingredients. In fact, you could find more than 30 ingredients on a professional charcuterie board, including multiple imported cheeses, an assortment of dips, and edible flowers, amongst other impressive products.
If you prefer to stick to your easily sourced, favorite cheeses and meats, then you can save money by making your own charcuterie board. However, professional catering companies save you the trouble of planning, prep, and presentation. Even with seemingly high costs of charcuterie boards in mind, catering companies are worth the time, effort, and money it takes to assemble various ingredients, especially if you plan to cater a large crowd.
Natalia Sanchez-Kumar is a Junior Research Analyst at ValueChampion. She has worked in the area of social impact, Future of Work and socio-technological research in the US and India. She has co-authored policy proposals alongside the International Labour Organisation in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, as well as hosted a data privacy conference with Facebook in New Delhi.