Accounting for $836 million in sales at convenience stores last year, meat snacks seem to be a category tailor-made for convenience consumers. Jerky is a quintessential impulse item that appeals greatly to the 18-to-55-year-old male shopper. They can be eaten on the go and they come with some innovative marketing campaigns, to boot.
“It’s all about impulse sales in that category,” said Ken Gomez, vice president of business development for Plano, Texas, retail services company Crossmark. “From what I see in the meat snack category, it’s all about catching the consumer as he walks in the store. People don’t go into c-stores specifically looking for meat snacks.”
Chicago-based market research firm Mintel reported Americans have a “preference for spicy, barbecue, teriyaki and smoke flavor profiles.” Health claims are playing an increasingly important vehicle for marketing products, since the female population is also set to grow and become dominant over the male population. Mintel advised manufacturers to “broaden their advertising initiatives to be more appealing to women.”
NACS concurred with Mintel’s findings. Meat snacks became the No. 1 subcategory in alternative snacks last year, accounting for 65% of sales in that category, according to the NACS State of the Industry report.
In the 2009 CSD Brand Preference Study, 87 key decision makers from 87 chains chose Jack Links Beef Jerky, Slim Jim (ConAgra Foods Inc.) and Pemmican (ConAgra Foods Inc.) as top performers. Honorable mentions went to Jim Beam (Thanasi Foods LLC) and Old Wisconsin Sausage Inc.