ConAgra: The meat snack category is pretty complicated

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Meat snack flavors: 'It's about pushing the envelope without going outside of the world [the consumer] wants to live in,' says ConAgra brand director
Meat snack flavors: 'It's about pushing the envelope without going outside of the world [the consumer] wants to live in,' says ConAgra brand director

Related tags: Consumer, Conagra foods

Flavor NPD and category management is vital in meat snacks amid increased competition and variety, says the brand director at ConAgra Foods.

ConAgra Foods has developed two new flavors for its Slim Jim Monster meat line – ‘red hot chili’ and ‘savage salsa’ – and has invested in a closer look at c-store positioning.

Jill Dexter, brand director for meat snacks at ConAgra Foods, said the category had become increasingly competitive.

“The meat snack category is pretty complicated – there are jerkies, sticks, bagged items; a lot of options and different flavors. So we’ve been working with our in-store team on racking solutions in store to help our customers better organize the set,”​ she told BakeryandSnacks.com at Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago.

She said consumers in c-stores – the biggest channel for ConAgra’s meat snacks – had very little time to shop and so it was vital the store was organized in a way that made sense.

ConAgra_meat_snacks_c-store_displayOPTIMIZED

“It’s organizing it by form, so if somebody goes in and wants a stick product they know right where to go. It’s also about making sure flavor descriptors are clear and consumers can see what’s available.”

She said ConAgra Foods had also invested in secondary display options.

“We’ve done a lot of work with our graphics and communication at shelf, making sure again that the information is very clear and concise.”

Meat NPD is about flavor

From a product innovation stand-point, Dexter said it was all about flavor development in meat snacking.

“We’ve been working a lot on flavor innovation – providing variety to our consumers. Obviously Slim Jim is high protein and easy to eat on the go, but we’ve got a consumer base that’s just yearning for variety and different flavors.

“We’ve got our core items – original, mild, tabasco and nacho, but we’re really trying to find more on-trend, innovative and unique flavors to offer,” ​she said.

However, she said there was certainly an innovation limit to stay within.

“A guy running into the gas station on the way to his job is probably not going to be looking for a truffle-flavored snack. There’s a point at which it’s not going to be interesting or meaningful for the consumer. It’s about pushing the envelope without going outside of the world they want to live in,”​ she said. 

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