Meat snack growth prospects look high for 2022.
According to Packaged Facts, retail sales of meat snacks will rise by 12% in 2022.
In the 52 weeks ending Jan. 1, 2022, meat snack dollar sales soared by 19.5% to $1.96 billion, based on Nielsen Total U.S. Convenience data, which is a jump from the previous year’s 11.4% increase.
Price increases will play a role in 2022 due to continued supply chain issues hitting meat snacks and most food categories as they did in 2021, noted Cara Rasch, research analyst, food & beverage at Packaged Facts.
At Beaverton, Ore.-based Plaid Pantry, which operates 107 locations, large bags of meat sticks are growing in popularity despite price increases.
“These retails are increasing as well,” said Mike Nelson, senior category manager at Plaid Pantry, in reference to the meat stick large bags. “But we seem to be able to price those a little lower than their jerky counterparts.”
However, based on Nielsen data, meat-and-cheese combo sales saw the biggest boom in the category at c-stores overall, with sales reaching $111 million at a 26.1% increase over last year.
Nelson saw price increases in large bag sizes, which has slowed their growth, though they continue to sell. However, this has given the chance for small-sized bag sales to receive a boost.
“We’ve done very well with Stryve Biltong and Vacadillos Carne Seca during the second half of last year. I’m hoping that will continue growth this year,” Nelson said, citing additional popular items.
According to Rasch, better-for-you meat snack sales have been growing at a faster rate in the market than overall meat snacks.
“Better-for-you and premium meat snacks such as grassfed, clean label, paleo/keto, plant/meat blends and plant-based meat alternatives are seeing a number of new product introductions,” she said.
However, not every c-store sustains a market for better-for-you products.
“I don’t think meat alternatives will work too well in our market. At least, I haven’t seen any of them really work yet,” said Nelson. He remains positive that some healthier options could become popular in the future, nevertheless.
Nelson believes that if prices can maintain for a length of time, anything is possible for the meat snack category in 2022. Despite price increases, supply issues and no promotional funding, “the category didn’t move backward,” Nelson said. “The sky is the limit!”