Protein Snacks See Meaty Gains in 2016

Alternative proteins, flavors driving interest

Meat Snack

Brought to you by Ball Park Jerky.

The meat-snack category has recently seen an unprecedented increase in popularity. Consumption of meat snacks, such as jerky, has increased among adults by 18% over the past five years, according to New York-based The NPD Group. Those snacks are most frequently consumed between lunch and dinner and late at night.

With a bright outlook on future earnings, the meat-snack industry is in a position of power and doesn’t seem to be looking back anytime soon.

In the United States, jerky-type products dominate the meat-snack category, which is the fourth-largest savory snacks category after potato chips, tortilla chips and nuts/trail mixes. Although jerky is a mature market, it has grown in recent years with the introduction of healthier and less-tough artisan jerky, according to FoodDive.com. This trend can be attributed to the nearly industrywide rebranding of jerky as a health snack.

“Fourteen percent of primary grocery shoppers say they are flexible regarding the kinds of protein they purchase, such as from animals, nuts, dairy or beans, which is a pretty sizeable segment,” said Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst at The NPD Group.

Advertising and marketing strategy has shifted focus toward the presence of protein in the snack. According to Innova Market Insightsdata, nearly 15% of global meat snacks launched in the 52 weeks ending April 2015 used protein claims, rising to over 50% in the United States. Ball Park, typically known for being the No. 1 brand in hot dogs, has unveiled its own gluten-free, protein-packed jerky. This is just one example of a business shifting to fit into the growing meat-snack world.

Meat snacks, specifically jerky, are not limited to beef. Companies such as Ball Park are introducing alternative proteins such as pork, as well as offering on-trend flavors. The snack fits into the popular diets of today, such as paleo and low-carb, as well as the artisanal and natural trend health-conscious consumers have been following.