Jack Link’s boss on grass-fed beef, Lorissa’s Kitchen and retail outlets

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Jack Link's Lorissa's Kitchen jerky line is 100% grass-fed
Jack Link's Lorissa's Kitchen jerky line is 100% grass-fed

Related tags Jack link Beef

It’s been a busy few months for the household name in US jerky – just weeks after launching a new brand, Jack Link’s announced it had acquired a supplier of grass-fed beef.

The acquisition of Iowa-based Grass Run Farms, which sources beef raised without antibiotics or added growth hormones, will help the business tap demand for clean-label, natural products.

A lot of consumers have health concerns about what they eat, and grass-fed beef is just healthier​,” Jack Link’s president Troy Link – son of Jack Link – told BakeryandSnacks.

Supply chain move

Link described the acquisition as a supply chain move. He added the company is excited to to offer 100% grass-fed beef products under Lorissa's kitchen and Grass Run Farms.

Grass Run Farms is a meat-focused company, and acquiring the business gives Jack Link’s access to high-quality meat, although Grass Run will continue to manufacture products including beef jerky, beef sticks and summer sausage.

Grass-fed beef is a limited resource in the US, said Link, adding there were even fewer USDA certified grass-fed brands.

"Grass-fed diets produce a much leaner, high-quality cut that's ideal for jerky,"​ Link said. "For Jack Link's, our sources predominantly use a grass-fed diet, but because of of limited supply, often these sources supplement with grain when necessary."

Lorissa’s Kitchen

And Jack Link’s own demand for grass-fed beef has increased with the launch of new brand Lorissa’s Kitchen, which began rolling out to stores in February.

The manufacturer is hoping the 100% grass-fed range will appeal to young female consumers who gravitate towards higher-end snack items, and has negotiated with retailers to get the brand merchandised in the healthy snack section.

Described by Link as offering a softer bite and smaller pieces, Lorissa’s Kitchen is gluten-free and available in four flavors: Korean barbeque beef jerky, ginger teriyaki chicken jerky, sweet chili pork jerky, and Szechuan peppercorn beef jerky.

Priced at $5.99 a pack, they are currently available in major grocers across the US, including Target, Wal-Mart and Kroger.

Changing market

All Lorissa’s Kitchen products are portable protein - they are low in sodium and have bold flavors​,” Link said, adding that the range had been in development for a couple of years.

Jack Links logo

While Link says the business holds a 50% share of the $3bn US meat snack market – and has enjoyed 25 years of growth – the company will be looking to launches such as Lorissas’s Kitchen to help it maintain its share in a changing category.

According to IRI data for the 12 months to 27 December 2015, sales of Jack Link’s core jerky range fell 2.4% to $771.1m in a market up 5.5% by value. In contrast, sales of the Krave jerky brand, acquired by Hershey a year ago, grew 62.2% in 2015 - albeit from a base of just $20m.

Retail outlet

Jack Link’s  - which employs more than 4,000 team members in 11 countries - is also looking to increase its retail presence, and has plans in place to build a flagship store in Mayo Clinic Square in downtown Minneapolis.

Once it’s up and running, the 80,000-square-foot store will include an interactive retail space, a R&D center, as well as a bar restaurant where celebrity chefs will use Jack Link’s protein snack as their ingredients.

 “I think consumers will enjoy interacting with our products​,” said Link.

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Grass Fed Beef Marketing?

Posted by Jerome,

Marketing Grass Fed Beef as a healthier alternative is marketing an animals' meat product that ate just grass. Last time I reviewed omega 3 numbers in grass fed beef they are what they eat. Not much omega 3 in dried hay and grass only grows maybe 100 days out of the year. Bet Jacks will not be able to put that on their label? We feed a small seed supplement to our cows and increase the omega 3 values 3-4x more than grass fed,do it year round and put it on our label.

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Grass Fed is Best

Posted by Chick Bowers,

Great to hear a company has taken the initiative to
give jerky a healthier profile.

Grass Fed Beef has Omega 3 fatty acids,compared
to the unhealthy Omega 6 in grain fed.
No hormones and better flavor.

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