The National Beef Checkoff shares jerky facts on National Jerky Day.
According to Nielsen, Beef jerky sales grew by nearly seven percent last year. Meat snacks are second only to potato chips in the salty snack category, but potato chips posted only 1.7 percent dollar growth over the same time period.
"Beef jerky provides all of the convenience of a traditional savory snack with no cooking or refrigeration needed, but packs a punch of protein and essential nutrients that make it stand out on the snack aisle," said Alisa Harrison, senior vice president of global marketing & research for National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff.
Nielsen also pointed out that nearly 75 percent of consumers want healthier salty snack options, with beef jerky outselling seeds, party mixes and pita chips – combined. As consumers eat fewer sit-down meals and snack more on the go, the demand for handheld protein has never been higher with more than half of Americans wanting to add more protein to their diet.
"Beef jerky is the most underrated component of a busy person's life when trying to eat healthy," said Michael Roussell, Ph.D., nutrition consultant. "It helps solve the tricky balance of how to get enough protein throughout the day when you live a hectic, on-the-go lifestyle because it's extremely portable, compact and high quality. All my clients travel with beef jerky, and I recommend it to enhance meals and snacks that are lacking protein."