We’re not jerking you around when we tell you that four new jerky products are being released that aren’t just beef. In fact, chicken and salmon jerky are joining the party as well.
Meatsnacks Group has even launched a new brand called Krave for its range, which aims to challenge the perceptions of jerky and biltong, bringing the category to new consumers.
“The brand has been created to portray jerky and biltong as a healthier, alternative snack that is full of flavour and experiments with new flavours in this category,” Meatsnacks marketing manager, Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott tells Food Spark.
So how has the company transformed jerky from American snack staple into something UK friendly?
Designed to be under 100 calories per pack, the new range includes Szechuan Pepper and Ginger Salt Beef Jerky, Warm Chimichurri Beef Biltong, Zesty Lemon and Dill Salmon Jerky and Cherry Tomatoes and Fennel Chicken Jerky, which will be sold for £1.99.
The Warm Chimichurri Biltong contains 78 calories per 28g pot and has 54% protein and the biltong is made from grass fed beef silverside steak. The Szechuan Pepper and Ginger Salt Jerky contains 90 calories per 28g pot and has 36% protein. The jerky is made from British and Irish beef silverside steak.
These flavours were chosen as they reflect a more contemporary, foodie offering for the consumer, says Macdonald-Nethercott.
The new brand is targeted at the fitness, health and nutritionally-conscious consumers, she added.
“Today’s consumer is looking for a social foodie offering and a snack that will deliver more in terms of flavour and is dynamic in its branding. They’re looking for healthier, but tastier options, especially when it comes to protein, as well as snacks under 100 calories that are gluten-free,” she says.
However, Meatsnacks hasn’t ventured into vegan jerky.
Last year, Food Spark reported on New York start-up Beyond the Shoreline, which has turned edible seaweed into a vegan jerky. It combines kelp with shiitake and crimini mushroom stems as well as unnamed “superfoods” to make their jerky. But while it was predicted to hit shelves in January, the company is yet to bring it to market. It did a crowdfunding round on Indiegogo in April and is currently taking pre-orders.
Health and free-from trends
But back to Krave. Consumer and market research found there was space for a new brand to increase category penetration and bring jerky and biltong to new positions in store, says Macdonald-Nethercott.
As a result, Meatsnacks worked with brand design agency, Pearlfisher to create vibrant packaging that highlighted key selling points for the snacks including their handcrafted nature, the quality of ingredients like grass fed beef, and health messages like low in calories and high in protein and omega 3.
Jerky and biltong are benefiting from the low calorie and free-from trends with pack sales up 19%, according to data from market research company IRI.
The Meatsnacks Group also makes jerky and biltong for a number of private label customers including Marks and Spencer’s, Itsu and Tesco.
So has the new range got Sparkie jumping for jerky?
Jerky is a product that is difficult to comment on. Theoretically, it has all the hallmarks of something which should be super popular right now but without the cultural history America has with it, it doesn’t seem to do so well.
The main issue with it is the price tag. However you look at it, taking an expensive ingredient and removing most of the water weight is going to create a high end price point. The flavour options are interesting and bang on trend in terms of consumer curiosity for authentic flavours.
Ultimately, I don’t think this will change the attitudes towards jerky in the UK – those that see value in the natural protein as well as other nutritional benefits it offers will continue to purchase it as their snack of choice, but for most people, the price point is a barrier and nuts generally have a healthier perception for less cost.