Jerky is salted or spiced lean dried meat that is eaten as a snack or meal replacement. While many tend to think of jerky as beef sticks and strips, it is also available in a wide variety of meats ranging from chicken, turkey and pork to exotic elk and, wild boar and venison.
Fish jerky has also been added to the mix including salmon, ahi tuna and rainbow trout. Some companies even offer plant-based, vegan jerky made from peas and fava beans or mushrooms.
It is generally regarded as a “better-for-you” snack because it is high in protein, low in carbohydrates and fat, gluten free and Keto diet friendly. In a survey conducted in 2021 by Statista market research firm, favorite flavors aside from the top-ranking regular (over 70%) include teriyaki, peppered, spicy, smoked/mesquite, barbecue and hickory.
Once viewed as a snack that appealed mostly to middle-aged men, jerky is constantly coming out with new, many upscale flavors such as chili lime and black cherry barbecue in a successful effort to encourage trial among women and younger consumers. Jerky’s portability also appeals to the on-the-go lifestyle of people of all ages and both genders.
Jerky is particularly popular among active adults because it so easily tucks into a pocket, purse or backpack for a quick meal or snack while hiking, biking or engaging in other athletic activities. It also makes a hunger-satisfying snack for a mid-day break at work, school or while traveling or running errands.
Sticks and strips come packaged in single- and multiple-serving packages. The individual packages are convenient for grab-and-go and easily lend themselves to bundling with hot or cold dispensed beverages, soft drinks from the cooler or beer at a value price for all customers or specifically those who are loyalty card holders.