Meat Snacks Sales Reports Fastest Growing Category

In today’s world of snacking and mini-meals, protein is a dietary powerhouse, and that is good news for meat snacks.

Meat snacks have become “the darling” of the snacking world in the last couple of years, the way market researcher Packaged Facts sees it. “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 come galloping to the rescue for many different type of snackers,” reported Norman Deschamps, an independent market analyst who works with Packaged Facts.

Packed with protein, meat snacks are generally considered a better-for-you option than potato chips and other salty snacks. In fact, meat snacks are gaining on potato chips’ dominance, according to fellow market researcher Nielsen. Looking at the snack category as a whole, “opportunity is found outside the realm of traditional potato chips and pretzels,” Nielsen states.

American households spend an average of $25.81 per year on meat snacks, with their per-trip spend about twice as much as it is on potato chips ($7.42 vs. $3.61).

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.

While meat snacks are bucketed evenly into jerky and sticks — each of which contributes about half of its total sales — it is jerky that experienced a particularly strong year last year, according to Nielsen, boasting sales growth of nearly 7 percent.

The artisanal trend in the category has become more significant. 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.

New flavor varieties are continually rolling out to reflect regional and ethnic tastes. Some new flavors are also indicative of additional daypart consumption, such as at breakfast time. Recently introduced flavor varieties include hickory, maple, teriyaki, sweet, hot, barbecue, Korean barbecue, sriracha, chipotle, Texas chili, buffalo wing, fajita, and more.

According to Packaged Facts, meat snacks continue to be the fastest-growing sales category within the healthy-ingredient snack market, particularly in the convenience channel.

Meat snack manufacturers are not only ramping up line introductions, but they are also updating their in-store displays and merchandising. Many are working with retailers to maximize shelving efficiency based on the space available and their customer demographics.


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