The US manufacturer is rolling out a new six-pack of 0.5-ounce meat sticks – called an On The Go Pack - to the retailer from this month. The multipack will be sold at $4.99, while the manufacturer’s traditional one-ounce meat stick typically retails for between $1.69 and $1.99.
“Our research demonstrates an unmet consumer need, particularly among families, for a more snackable stick size for on-the-go occasions such as family trips, outdoor recreational activities or in the backpack for school,” Vermont Smoke & Cure CEO Chris Bailey told BakeryandSnacks.
New packaging design
News of the Target listings follows the roll-out of a new packaging design for the business, which also supplies pepperoni, summer sausage, bacon, hot dogs, and ham.
Until now, Vermont Smoke & Cure has sold its meat sticks primarily through the natural channel at retailers such as Whole Foods and regional grocery stores including Stop & Shop.
“This has given us the confidence that we can be successful with larger customers, like Target,” said Bailey. “Target is a good fit because there is a lot of crossover with the natural and specialty foods consumer. Target’s guests are looking for a good price but they are also looking for something unique and different.”
Bailey added that Target was pushing to improve its selection of natural foods and snacks.
“We fit very nicely with where they are headed,” he said.
Meat snack market share has doubled
Vermont Smoke & Cure holds a 7.8% dollar share of the meat snack category in the natural channel, said Bailey, adding that while its share of the conventional meat snack category was small, it had more than doubled in the past year.
The range has benefitted from tapping diet trends such as paleo, added Bailey.
“Our one-ounce meat sticks contain anywhere from six to nine grams of protein only zero to one gram of sugar,” he said. “They also contain 40% less sodium and 45% less fat than the leading snack sticks.”
As of July 1 this year, all Vermont Smoke & Cure products will be made without sodium nitrite from meat raised without antibiotics or added growth hormones, added Bailey.
Natural meat poised for long-term growth
“As consumers are increasingly adopting cleaner diets and looking for products with simple ingredient decks, I think the natural meat snack industry is poised for strong long-term growth,” Bailey said.
The meat snack category had become highly competitive with new entrants, and with larger companies acquiring emerging brands and providing them with capital to expand, he added.
This site previously reported that Jack Link’s – which Vermont Smoke & Cure views as a competitor - acquired Grass Run Farms to improve of the quality of its jerky.
“The most important thing that we can do is to continue to focus on quality and continue to introduce the brand to new consumers.” Bailey said.