U.S. market for meat snacks gets healthier and more exotic

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Meat snacks have become a darling of the snacking world in the last couple of years. Between paleo dieters and CrossFitters espousing the benefits of a high protein diet, the gluten- and wheat-free tribes avoiding anything to do with breads, and the continued negative press that carbs have been receiving, meat has become the product of choice for many different types of snackers.

However, this has also caused a shift in the style of meat snacks gaining popularity, which is away from traditional simple varieties of Beef jerky and toward more complex meat snacks that make use of alternative proteins (i.e., bison, kangaroo and salmon) and unique flavors, marketing artisanal meat snacks that are quite different from conventional jerky. And so, with their competance in the meat market arose essentials like jerky gun to bolster their entirety in sales.

How is this shift affecting sales for different meat snack providers? Link Snacks is the largest meat snack producer in the United States, but it is also having a rough go of it trying to stay relevant in this new snacking world.

Dollar sales for the company over the past year were down 7 percent while volume sales were down 15 percent, which shows the company has tried to stave off larger losses by increasing prices. If any meat snack brand epitomizes the classic style of jerky, it is Jack Link’s, and those sales results show that this is not the kind of jerky people are looking for any more, according to the report.

Compare the results to Krave’s, a brand that embraces the new wave of healthier-for-you meat snacks marketed directly towards millennials and which feature unique ingredients. The company ranked among the top eight marketers of meat snacks over the past year in terms of dollar sales.

Dollar sales for the company were up 71 percent, with volume sales up 84 percent. The results suggest the company is selling more of its 3.5-ounce bags of jerky as well as the even larger bags it sells online. Regardless, growth of the brand has been phenomenal, according to Packaged Facts.

Oberto Sausage also has seen positive growth in dollar sales through the introduction of its new All Natural Oberto Jerky brand. The lower unit sales growth and much lower volume sales growth suggests the company has positioned this jerky as a premium brand, with a higher price point compared to its Oh Boy! brand.

However, it is really only Link Snacks and private label meat snacks that are having a hard time growing sales in this fast-growing category. Other traditional meat snacks manufacturers are doing fine.

ConAgra Foods saw strong growth in sales of its classic Slim Jim meat sticks over the period, although it is clear that about half of that growth came through price increases. Bridgeford Foods also is doing well with its Sweet Baby Ray jerkies, which pair Bridgeford Foods’ jerkies with the well-known BBQ sauce brand. The company saw a 37 percent increase in unit sales over the period, higher than the dollar sales growth, but slightly lower volume sales growth, suggesting the company reduced unit sizes over the period.

Source:  meatingplace.com, 8-4-2016

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