Move over potato chips, there’s a new savory snack on the scene that is filling grocery carts as more consumers opt for healthier, higher protein snacks.
What is it? It’s meat snacks, and more specifically- meat sticks and jerky. Meat snacks have come a long way since the Slim Jim, and there seems to be an endless opportunity in the segment to offer many varieties including turkey and beef, organic, grass-fed and premium options. Consumers appreciate the high-protein snack that fits nicely into many of the latest high-protein, low-carb diets, as well as a healthier snacking lifestyle.
Sales remain steady in the segment with new brands emerging to satisfy these trends. According to Nielsen, in 2017, meat snacks was a $2.8 billion category. The segment is bucketed into jerky and sticks, each of which contributes about half of the total sales. It’s no surprise that the segment is growing as U.S. consumers crave more and more protein. Nielsen reported that 55% of U.S. households say high protein is now an important attribute to consider when buying food for their households. And since consumers are snacking more, and sitting down to traditional meals less, jerky is definitely having its moment in the spotlight.
When launching your jerky brand, remember key packaging considerations to capture consumer attention, keep the jerky fresh and get your product to market quickly.
Designing Jerky Packaging For Convenience & Performance
Because snacking should always be convenient, jerky is most often packaged in pouches and bags for on-the-go consumption. Flexible packaging delivers to consumers the convenience of its lightweight, resealability and great design capabilities. And in unbreakable bags and pouches, the jerky becomes incredibly portable and easy to pack for school, work or climbing up a mountain.
Jerky can be packaged in both lay flat pouches and stand-up pouches, in either a single-serving size package for on-the-go consumption or a full-size package. Press to close zippers are best utilized when a consumer will want the ability to store the product while ensuring freshness, while single-serve pouches can utilize a tear notch for ease of opening.
Jerky Packaging for Maximized Freshness
But the biggest consideration when packaging jerky snacks is not consumer convenience, but rather freshness! The bag or pouch must keep the jerky inside fresh, staving off oxygen and moisture.
Moisture and oxygen threaten the jerky’s freshness, and when present can cause the product to develop mold and negatively impact shelf life. Because of this, the packaging must work to maintain moisture levels, and create an airtight seal.
High-barrier films are so important for jerky packaging, as they will create a strong protective barrier between the outer world and the product inside. This, combined with a tight seal, like a push to close zipper, with enough strength and functionality to allow consumers to open and close the pouch multiple times, will keep the meat snacks fresher for longer.
In addition to the bag or pouch working to keep the jerky fresh, the use of an oxygen absorber inside a plastic pouch or bag is also key to a package’s success as it works to prevent the growth of fungi and microorganisms. It works to keep air out, maintaining an oxygen level close to zero, during the entire life of the product.
Fresher jerky means a longer shelf life for both manufacturers and consumers, resulting in less waste and happier customers.
In summary, when it comes to jerky packaging, it’s all about freshness, keeping the meat fit for consumption. Bags and pouches accomplish this with superior strength, keeping oxygen out and freshness in. What’s more, pouches and bags offer the convenience of resealability, lightweight and the added perks of digital printing. With digital printing on flexible packaging, small and medium-sized companies can order short and medium run length orders, finished jerky pouches and roll stock, all shipped quickly. This means getting your product to market fast, and not holding a large inventory, saving you on waste and money down the road.
Digital printing takes the complexity out of ordering and printing your jerky packaging, with a simple, streamlined process. If you’re not sure of what custom jerky bags you need, our packaging experts will recommend the perfect product for any jerky or processed meat – or we can work with your specifications.