LOS ANGELES – The meat jerky category has experienced growth in the last five years despite the economic downturn, including a 6 percent jump in 2012, according to IBISWorld, an industry and market research firm based in Los Angeles.

Portability, low prices and innovative flavors should help the jerky category grow at an average annual rate of 3.7 percent to $1 billion in sales in the five years to 2017.

“While per capita red meat consumption declined during the recession due to consumers' tightened budgets, this metric has increased since 2009,” according to Mary Nanfelt, IBISWorld industry analyst.
The recession forced Americans to limit discretionary spending. But instead of forgoing meat jerky altogether, consumers opted for lower-priced products.

“Per capita disposable income has returned to growth, allowing consumers to purchase higher-value snacks,” Nanfelt said.

Companies such as Oberto Sausage Company, Link Snacks, Jerky Snack Brands and ConAgra Foods have invested in major expansions that have increased concentration during the past five years. IBISWorld projects this trend to continue, as key players concentrate on core business development to achieve optimal economies of scale.

IBISWorld forecasts continued revenue growth over the five years to 2017, though at a slightly lower average rate. Industry operators will likely experience greater competitive pressures from alternative snack food providers and limited revenue opportunities. Also new producers to the meat jerky category will intensify competition within the industry.