When it comes to consumers’ choice of salty snacks, beef jerky falls in the middle of what consumers are reaching for. In January, about 35% of surveyed shoppers had purchased meat snacks for their household, compared to 54% for cheese-flavored snacks, the highest performing category.2
Pre-COVID, shoppers reaching for jerky said they do so because the snack satisfies cravings, is filling and comes in a good variety of flavors.2 While all of these attributes still apply during the pandemic shopping period, a new factor came into play as well – size.
“The driver behind jerky’s modest COVID period growth was larger sized units,” Peksoz said. “Within the top 20 SKUs, eight fell in the ‘larger unit size’ category and all grew more than 20% in dollar sales.”
All of the jerky products that saw greater than 20% dollar sales growth during the COVID period were containers of 8 oz and larger.1 This falls directly in line with the stockpiling behavior that was rampant at the beginning of the pandemic and has continued throughout. Midan’s June COVID-19 research shows that 34% of shoppers are still stockpiling meat and chicken products. This is down only 4% from its peak in April and May.3
Another major driver for the jerky category growth for both pre-COVID and COVID periods was challenger brands, according to Peksoz. Old Trapper, Cattleman’s Cut and No Man’s Land each grew more than 20% in dollar sales during both time periods.1 This can likely be attributed to larger pack sizes and that these brands are typically available at larger format retailers like Walmart Supercenters and warehouse club stores including Costco, stores which are designed for shopping in bulk.