The recent merger between The Jerky Group and Cruga to form the Meatsnacks Group, makes the new company by far the largest jerky and biltong manufacturer in Europe. It also has the leading jerky brand with Wild West, plus the leading biltong brand Cruga. The other successful brands are Bundu Biltong, Texas Joe’s Jerky and the Hogbites brand, which includes pork crackling and a new pork jerky product.
Meatsnacks Group also boasts a strong own label offering which includes M&S Beef Jerky, plus Men’s Health Fuel Beef Jerky is in the stable as a licensed product. Ahead of the merger the two busi- nesses had been working closely together for a number of years, in areas including NPD, centralised packing, sales and distribution. This long-term relationship has meant that the new group already has the dominant position in the UK market, and also enjoys exports to 27 countries.
Lisa Gower, sales director of Meatsnacks Group, talks about the key trends in the emerging ambient meat snacks category and how the company is responding to it: There’s clearly been something of a shift in consumers adopt- ing more healthy lifestyles, and there- fore there’s an obvious expectation that, along with other food products, snacks will be available on the supermarket shelf that are lower in fat – plus other attributes such as being high in protein and gluten free. Both jerky and biltong fit that criteria, but we’ve taken things further by ensuring no added artificial ingredients and no added MSG. So our products are as natural as they can be, and this will remain a key tenet of our NPD strategy.
Gower goes on to talk about how retailers can and are making changes to how jerky and biltong is displayed, plus how her products will increasingly stand out on a crowded fixture.
Up until fairly recently, both jerky and biltong were largely confined to clip strips in most of the large supermarket chains. This approach is fine for purely impulse sales, but for real growth we need to also see the adoption of SRPs in the snack isle to ensure that consumers can easily find the product as part of their weekly shop. This is starting to hap- pen, and the retailers that have already adopted this approach are seeing the benefits. From our side, we will increasingly make the benefits of our products stand out on shelf through much clearer and relevant pack messaging.
Meatsnacks Group is pushing forward with its marketing strategy and has recently taken on a new marketing manager, Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott. It has also appointed W Communications who have enjoyed success with brands including Marmite.