Consumers Craving Meat Snacks

JackLinksAmerica’s craving for dried protein-rich meat snacks is showing no signs of slacking as jerky sales hit $1 billion and other dried meat snacks $1.1 billion, according to Chicago-based research group SymphonyIRI.

During the 52-week period ended Jan. 27, 2013, dollar sales for non-jerky, dried meat snacks grew 5.4%, said Jamil Satchu, a partner with Symphony Consulting, part of the SymphonyIRI Group. Volume sales rose 4.2%.  Dollars for jerky snacks climbed 11.6% during that same period, while volume sales increased 15.2%.

At the 10-unit, Torrance, Calif.-based Famima convenience store chain, dried meat snacks sales soared 240% versus the year prior, said Category Buyer Elizabeth Synn.  Synn attributed much of this growth to the introduction of a relative newcomer to the jerky snack pack, all-natural Krave brand.

“Our customers are looking for all-natural, gluten-free, better-for-you snacks, and Krave jerky offers that combination,” she said. “Women, in particular, might have a craving for a hamburger, but don’t want all the calories and fat, or they’re hungry, but can’t take the time for a whole meal.  They can pick up some jerky or other dried meat snack to satisfy their craving for beef and overall hunger.  With resealable packaging, they can also eat as much or as little as they want when they want, and the product will stay fresh until the next snack craving hits.”

Krave products are particularly appealing to women because of their interesting flavors, like pineapple orange, chili lime and garlic chili pepper, Synn said. The stores carry five of the eight Krave varieties, but, she noted, Famima is planning to introduce the other flavors in the near future.

“Men are creatures of habit; they know what flavors they’re going to buy when they come in,” she noted.  “Maybe because women cook more, they’re more open to new flavors.”

During a soft launch of the line, Famima sold the 3.25-ounce bags of Krave jerky at a sale price of $5.99 instead of the usual retail price of $6.99.  Synn said that the sale price effectively encouraged product trial and that sales have continued to rise even after the introductory price period ended.

Better for You Trending
At Rockland, Mass.-based Tedeschi Food Shops, stick jerky makes up the majority of the dried meat snack business. The stores’ top 10 items are all sticks, and they make up 71% of the unit movement and 42% of the dollars in the category, said Category Manager Michael Turco.

At Texarkana, Texas-based E-Z Mart, meat snack sales grew 7.5% and units were up 4.1%, said Category Manager Danna Huskey.  The stores’ top-selling SKUs last year were the Slim Jim Giant sticks.  Huskey attributed much of that movement to “aggressive in-store promotions” featuring these products.

This year she is seeing more meat snack manufacturers emphasizing “natural” on their packaging. She is also seeing more bites and turkey products coming onto the market.

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