Meat snacks have been a hot seller in convenience stores this year. In fact, according to NielsenIQ, the category increased 7.7% in the 52 weeks ending Aug. 27, 2022, while jerky was up 4.6%.
Mike Jackson, category manager for High’s headquartered in Baltimore, Md., with 59 stores in Maryland and Pennsylvania, has seen a rise in meat snack sales, especially meat sticks.
“Sales are trending 6.5% in units, with sticks making up the volume of units and jerky about even with sticks in overall sales dollars generated,” said Jackson.
At Spicewood, Texas-based TXB convenience stores, meat snack sales are also looking up.
“We will be up even more in sales by end of year with the (recent) launch of our new private-label flavor TXB Teriyaki Jerky, as well as a line of four flavors of meat snacks in the coming weeks,” said Kevin Smartt, CEO of TXB with 47 stores in Texas and Oklahoma. “With heavy promotion and merchandising, we should see substantial growth in this category.”
The four new flavors of TXB jerky include Mildly Seasoned, Sweet ‘n Spicy, Peppered and Zero Sugar Peppered.
Small Packs Are Back
Today’s customers are demanding a variety of options when shopping for meat snacks. Some of those options include healthier, more convenient and cheaper meat snacks.
TXB is big on providing its customers with better-for-you options, so the store has seen more of its healthier meat snacks fly off the shelves recently.
“Customers are wanting better-for-you, protein-packed, non-GMO options, and meat snacks provide a quick and easy way to refuel on the go,” said Smartt. “Locally sourced, fresh ingredients are also preferred by our customers.”
Along with healthy options, TXB has realized customers want to emotionally invest in their meat snack purchase, especially with inflation increasing prices and affecting consumer spending habits.
“We not only provide healthy meat snacks for our guests, but we make sure our ingredients are sourced locally to support the community we serve,” said Smartt.
Another meat snack option that is making a comeback is smaller bag sizes. During the pandemic a lot of convenience stores saw customers buying meat snacks in bulk or bigger bags to cut down on trips to the store. Now that the world is getting back to normal and inflation is causing prices to increase, customers are returning to smaller bag sizes.
High’s is watching this trend play out across its stores.
“Larger bags of jerky saw a large growth in 2021, perhaps due to less store visits and customers stacking up between visits,” said Jackson. “Customers now seem to be getting back to a more normal visit frequency and are switching to smaller packages due to the significant increase in retail (prices) over the past 12 months.”
“A difference about meat snacks compared to last year is the pack sizes,” agreed Smartt.
TXB is even considering creating more affordable smaller bag sizes to meet customer demand.
“We will look to tighten up on larger options for a more economical take rate,” said Smartt. “With Q4 and next year inflation woes, we believe creating cheaper and smaller bag-size options is best for our guests.”
Convenience stores are always looking for new ideas and flavors to add for meat snacks.
High’s believes adding new brands and flavors of meat snacks will continue to ensure meat snacks’ place as a customer favorite and keep sales trending upward.
“I expect to continue to be up in unit sales for meat snacks at the end of 2022 and going into 2023,” said Jackson. “We have a strong variety of meat snack brands, and we continue to do promotions on these items to help increase basket rings. We also know meat snacks are a staple for customers, so we include that category in promotions throughout the year.”
Overall, as convenience stores continue to bring new, fun and tasty meat snacks options to customers, meat snacks can count on a bright future.