Consumer snack preferences and choices are evolving, and meat snacks are a prime example. The nation’s protein affinity has driven consumer interest and manufacturerer innovation in meat snacks. While beef remains the largest share, consumers now find pork, chicken, elk, venison, wild boar and buffalo (bison) varieties, infused with an even greater assortment of flavors and spices.
Over the past four years, the meat snack category has posted compound annual sales growth of more than 7 percent. Once limited to a handful of SKUs per store, meat snacks are now merchandised at checkout, on endcaps, and have established a strong presence across many linear feet in the salty snack aisle. Aside from addressing American’s quest for protein outside the meat department, these merchandising changes reflect the growing role for snacking in the American diet, with meat snacks serving both as a little hold-me-over until dinner or a small meal replacement.
At close to $3 billion in annual sales, meat snacks sales are split nearly even between jerky and sticks. Jerky is growing the fastest, according to Nielsen, boasting sales growth of nearly 7 percent. Nielsen found that American households spend an average of $26 per year on meat snacks with the average per-trip spend on sticks and jerky being about twice as much as it is in relation to popular staples like potato chips or popcorn.
As is the case with most products, some demographics are more interested in meat snacks than others. According to Nielsen, Boomers are the biggest buyers, spending more than $28 per year — making them 10 percent more likely to buy meat snacks than the average shopper. Asian-Americans far over index spending nearly $32 per year, on average.
Looking to celebrate National Bison Day? Don’t forget the snack aisle!