Meat Snacks:Marketing patterns differ by country

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 10th September 2012

The US has the largest meat snacks market in the world. It is dominated by jerky-style products which, despite their relative maturity, have seen good growth in recent years. Manufacturers have updated their ranges to focus on a healthier image, more convenient packaging formats and a greater choice of flavour options, particularly hot and spicy variants.

Innova Market Insights has reported this week that 18% of global meat snacks launches were positioned on a health platform of some kind, but this rises to 40% in Europe and to 75% in the US. The most popular health-related claims concerned naturalness and the absence of artificial additives and preservatives, used on 12% of launches globally, rising to 58% in the US.

In Europe, the meat snacks market is much more limited, with products tending to be thought of as meat products rather than bagged snacks and the most popular lines tending to be salami-style sausage products, rather than dried snacks such as jerky and biltong.

Germany has the largest market, reflecting its traditional love of wurst and salami-style sausages, although jerky-style products are also increasingly popular, with the US jerky market leader, Jack Links, having its European base in Germany.  The meat snacks market in Europe is dominated by Unilever’s BiFi mini salami snack brand, which is celebrating its 40th birthday in 2012 with a number of initiatives including a special limited edition BiFi HOT variant. It also will feature in a co-branded launch with German snacks market leader Intersnack introducing a BiFi limited edition flavour variant under the market-leading Chio potato chips brand over coming months.

UK growth for meat-based snacks

While Germany has the most established European market, the very underdeveloped UK market is seeing much higher levels of new product activity, although this probably includes more pastry-based meat snacks.

The UK market for meat snacks has long been dominated by salami-style lines from Unilever’s Peperami, ahead of Kerry Foods’ Mattesson’s Fridge Raiders, but the market is changing in character, with the arrival and promotion of more jerky-style products, both British and imported lines.

Local meat origin emphasised in new UK meat snacks:      A notable feature has been the arrival of smaller specialist British companies, often promoting the use of local meats and/or more traditional British flavours.  These include The Bath Pig, which makes chorizo from British pork, The Purbeck Larder with its rosemary and beef biltong and Chow British Beef Biltong.

For further information on the Innova Database, the representative for Australia and New Zealand is Glen Wells (