Not Your Daddy’s Jerky

August 23, 2017

It’s an inescapable truth: Meat Bars are Everywhere.

Already a $2.8 billion category, the meat snack segment has seen compound annual sales growth of more than 7% over the last four years. Hershey’s has their popular Krave line of meat snacks, General Mills acquired the growing Epic Bar, while emerging brands like Mighty Bar are grabbing share too. When looking at age segments, baby boomers are the biggest meat snack buyers, spending an average of $28.48 per year, making them 10 percent more likely to buy meat snacks than the average shopper.

A lot of this growth and popularity can be attributed to the protein features of meat bars. Over 50% of consumers are seeking high-protein options and they are already familiar with meat as a great protein option. By making meat bars easy to grab-n-go, it’s become an obvious choice. What used to be seen as snacks for athletes or those on crazy meat diets, the average consumer is also getting in on the game. Due to the popularity of Paleo and high-protein diets, meat snacks are seeing spikes similar to those that were seen when the Atkins Diet was at peak popularity. The meat snacks are seen as a healthier option than candy bars or traditional potato chips with greater nutritional benefits, often even being used as a meal replacement.

While meat snacks are categorized evenly into jerky and sticks — each of which contributes about half of its total sales — it’s jerky that experienced a particularly strong year last year. Jerky has come a long way from what it used to be though and it’s definitely not the jerky you grew up with.

Some key differences of the new meat snacks that account for their growth and popularity include:

    • Cleaner ingredient lists. Similar to what consumers want from snacks as a whole, they want clean meat snacks without artificial ingredients.
    • New flavor varieties are a huge key to the rise of these new meat snacks. Brands are continuously rolling out new and bold flavors to reflect regional and ethnic tastes. Recently introduced flavor varieties include mango habanero, sweet sriracha, barbecue, pho, teriyaki, chipotle, chili lime and more.
    •  The artisanal small-batch and craft offerings are at the core of innovation. Smaller pieces and more moisture, with the intent of making it easier to chew, are part of the latest offerings.
    • Improvements to core product lines are prevalent as well. Extra-tender pieces are part of what’s being highlighted. Premium is the name of the game.
    • Lapsed consumers are re-entering the category. But also, women and millennials have become the focus of new jerky marketing initiatives.
    • Beef is still king, but more complex and alternative “meat” proteins abound, such as bison, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, kangaroo and salmon. Organic, grass-fed, nitrate-free and antibiotic-free labels are on the rise. What’s more, added ingredients include nuts, seeds, fruit and trail mix.

Truly Good Foods carries a variety of meat snacks including Krave, Jack Link’s and Lawless Beef Jerky. New additions to the category include EPIC bars and Mighty Bars.

Contact your rep to add these growing snacks to your offerings.


Tags: epic, high protein snacks, krave, lawless jerky, meat snacks, mighty, protein meat snacks

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