Protein trend has consumers reaching for meat snacks

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Protein trend has consumers reaching for meat snacks


Retailers looking to grow own-brand sales might want to step up development within the meat snack category. Consumption of meat snacks among U.S. adults increased by 18 percent during the last five years, according to ongoing snacking research from The NPD Group, Port Washington, N.Y.

Beef is still the leading meat snack type consumed, but turkey jerky is the fastest-growing. Cases of turkey jerky shipped from foodservice distributors to restaurants and other foodservice outlets, for example, increased by triple-digits in the year ending April 2015 compared to year ago, reported NPD’s SupplyTrack monthly tracking service. Other meat snack types include bison, buffalo, elk, and salmon.

The most popular times to eat meat snacks, NPD said, are between lunch and dinner and late at night as a snack. Young adults, ages 18-24, are more likely than any other age group to graze on meat snacks throughout the day; and although men eat far more meat snacks than women, women are increasing their consumption of these snacks.

Protein content is the primary reason consumers are eating more meat snacks. In fact, 24 percent of adults say they look for protein on nutrition labels, NPD said, and 50 percent of adults say the best source of protein is animal protein. An ounce of beef or turkey jerky can have as much as 13 grams of protein. Another healthful plus is that meat snacks are typically low in fat.

“Meat snacks are an example of not all snacks being equal in terms of meeting different consumer needs,” said Annie Roberts, vice president, SupplyTrack. “Knowing the needs products address is important in making sure you’re getting the right products in the right places for the right people.”