Meat snacks continue to take a healthy slice of snack sales at convenience stores, reported Mintel. That outperformance vis-a-vis other snacks has much to do with category innovation and meat snacks’ functional benefits, Mintel reported.
Mintel also forecasts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2% for meat snacks from 2016-2021.
As of July 1, 2017, meat snacks generated $1.4 billion in c-stores, a hike of 3.2% over the previous year, reported Nielsen Co. in its Total U.S. Convenience Channel View. For the 52 weeks ending Sept. 9, 2017, meat snacks enjoyed a 9% share of the on-the-go snacking category within the convenience channel, growing at a rate of 5% or $547 million over the past year.
Jerky is the segment leader in convenience and dollar growth has continued to rise in the past four years. Year-to-date, the jerky segment is up 8.7% according to Nielsen Convenience Data ending July 15, 2017. Jack Link’s continued to top meat stick snack sales in 2017 with well over 30% of market share.
The meat snack category lends itself to new product innovation. One area is premium meat snacks made with prime cuts, from grass-fed animals, offering humanely-raised ingredients as well as hormone-free.
The 2018 National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Consumer Fuels Reports may be insightful on meat snack sales. It found 45% of gas purchasers go inside the store.
Of that total, more men than women (37% to 30%) bought a snack, and younger buyers were most likely to buy snacks, with 45% of 18-to-34-year-olds doing so, said Jeff Lenard, NACS’ vice president, strategic industry initiatives.
At Zarco USA stores in Lawrence, Kan., national brands Slim Jim and Jack Link’s sell briskly. But bigger sellers recently have been Hombre Authentic Beef Jerky Sticks from Eudora, Kan.-based Pyle Meat Products, said Zarco USA CEO Scott Zaremba.
Not only is the Hombre brand locally made, but its quality is reflected in its capturing the Grand Champion Beef Jerky prize in 2015 and 2016 from the Kansas Meat Processors Association. The eagerness with which Zarco USA customers have purchased Hombre in larger packages selling in the $13 range has given Zaremba an idea.
“We’re actually moving into the category ourselves,” said Zaremba. “We’re opening a barbecue restaurant that will start functioning in the next 30 days, inside one of our stores, and we’ll be producing our own meat snacks in that restaurant. As long as you’re doing it the right way, you can make a quality product. The most difficult part of this [initiative] will be getting [consumers] to sample. Once they do, meat snack buyers are very loyal.”