Beef isn't the only jerky

by Joel Crews
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NPD Group reports strong consumer demand for meat snacks made from other proteins.

CHICAGO – Consumer demand for meat snacks continues to grow, but new research indicates that consumers are buying more than beef jerky, as data indicates other species — especially turkey jerky — are being gobbled up at unprecedented levels. According to NPD Group, meat snack consumption in general has increased by 18 percent since 2010 among adults. Noteworthy, however is the increase in turkey-based jerky products, which according to NPD, has grown by triple-digit rates for the past 12 months ending April 2015. Beef is still leading the category, based on a monthly tracking service NPD maintains that keeps track of cases of products shipped from large distributors to their foodservice customers. Other non-beef offerings include bison, buffalo, elk, pork and even salmon.

Fueling the increased consumption of meat snacks are young-adult consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 who are grazing on the items between daytime meals and as late-night snacks. According to NPD, protein is the driver behind the consumption of meat snacks among adults, with 24 percent of them seeking label information about the amount of protein in a package and 50 percent of adults believe the best source of protein comes from animal.

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

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