Meat Snacks Bring the Heat to Drive C-Store Sales

Meat snacks

Exotic, spicy, small batch, premium and per-unit size were some attributes helping to pace the growth for the dried meat snacks category across the U.S. convenience channel this year.

For a 52-week period ending Oct. 2, 2022, meat snacks increased total c-store dollars 5.7% ($2.19 billion market), with the sub-category defined as “all other dried meat snacks” increasing sales 10.1%, according to data from Chicago-based IRI Global. Units for the broad category lost 2% while “all other” was flat at 0.2%.

The “all other” segment was paced by perennial top two brands Jack Link’s and Slim Jim, the latter growing dollars 19.7%. Rounding out the top five were Penrose, Matador by Jack Link’s and Old Wisconsin.

Surprising newcomers included Vacadillos (970.9% dollar increase, 19th for total c-store dollars) and Sweetwood Smokehouse (486% growth, 14th in the top 20).

Underpinned by the tagline, “eat it and weep,” Vacadillos fashions itself as the hot meat snack variety, encouraging consumers to “curb your cravings and melt your face off with bold Vacadillos flavors. Lean into the heat and taste the fire you’ve been craving.”

Steamboat Springs, Colo.-based Sweetwood Smoke & Co. fashions itself as the brand that “crafts the biggest meat sticks available anywhere in the country [2- and 3-ounces], with the aim of satisfying seriously big appetites,” the company boasts on its Twitter feed.

The jerky category, meantime, had a negligible performance, falling 0.2% in dollar sales and 8.8% units.

Click ahead for five recent meat snack releases.

Country Archer

Country Archer

Country Archer debuted a line of Zero-Sugar Smoked Sausages and Teriyaki Style Mini Pork Sticks stocked as part of a convenient countertop display. Zero-Sugar Smoked Sausages come in Fuego and Original flavor, packing 9 grams of protein per serving, with 100 calories, 6 grams of fat and zero sugar (SRP of $7.99). Teriyaki Style Mini Pork Sticks are made without soy sauce and are gluten- and soy-free, with each stick consisting of 100% natural, antibiotic-free pork and real chunks of pineapple (SRP of 99 cents per stick).

Southern Recipe Small Batch

Southern Recipe Small Batch

Southern Recipe Small Batch refreshed its packaging with design elements including bolder colors and clear flavor cues highlighting key product features, the supplier reports. In addition to offering bold flavors, Southern Recipe Small Batch’s handcrafted, small-batch pork rinds boast a USDA-approved 7 grams of collagen per serving. 

Wenzel’s Farm

Wenzel’s Farm

Offering a taste that blends with its naturally smoked meat, Wenzel’s Farm is adding a Dill Pickle flavor to its line of meat sticks. Similar to all Wenzel’s Farm snack sticks, Dill Pickle has no MSG, no artificial colors and is certified gluten-free. Producing quality meat products since 1949, Wenzel’s Farm offers 14 snack stick varieties, all of which are crafted in small batches using premium cuts of meat, naturally seasoned and smoked and relying on family recipes.

Divine Bovine Jerky

Divine Bovine Jerky

Divine Bovine Jerky is available in beef, turkey, bacon and pork. The Divine Bovine Hot & Tangy Teriyaki Gourmet Beef Jerky relies on Grade A steer brisket beef. It is drenched in a mild blend of savory spices based on a recipe that exudes a fiery hot and sultry flavor combining the sweetness of pineapple juice with heat of chili peppers, the company says. The jerky does not contain MSG, synthetic preservatives, nitrates or gluten

4505 Meat

4505 Meat

4505 Meat’s new line of premium sausage snacks, 4505 Butcher’s Snacks, are crafted with 2 ounces of humanely raised pork and packed with 18 to 24 grams of protein per serving. Keto certified, Paleo-friendly and gluten-free, 4505 Butcher’s Snacks are available in Original Recipe, Cheddar & Bacon and Red Hot flavors, the latter offering made with an extra kick from paprika, cayenne, coriander and yellow mustard. They are available for an SRP of $2.99 per 2-ounce link.