Jack Link's

Ask 10 different people what they like to snack on and chances are you’ll get 10 different answers. The snacks could be anything from crisps, chocolate, a sausage roll or fruit right through to beans on toast – all depending on when and where they are snacking.

Obviously you won’t typically get beans on toast in a forecourt store but you’re likely to be able to find every other item mentioned – and then some.

One snack that you might not be stocking but should definitely consider is Jack Link’s Beef Jerky. That’s because, according to Nielsen data, jerky and biltong meat snack sales are growing fast in the convenience/forecourt sector – up by over 44% in value and 37% in volume with the Jack Link’s brand driving this growth.

Shaun Whelan, Jack Link’s convenience/wholesale and out-of-home controller, explains: “The category has more than doubled in value over the last five years and has the headroom to double again as still less than one in 10 households buy it.”

He puts the growth down to the fact that more shoppers area looking for high protein, tasty convenient snacks that are seen to be healthier alternatives to traditional snacks. “The opportunity to meet shopper demand and unlock additional sales is huge,” he explains. “Jack Link’s consumers are predominately male, aged between 16-45 years old, with a keen interest in sports, healthy eating and therefore lead an active lifestyle. More importantly, these shoppers are willing to pay more for this product than traditional crisps and snacks.”

Nielsen data shows that Jack Link’s Beef Jerky Original 25g (rrp £1.65) has the highest unit rate of sale of any product in the category – and it is the biggest selling Jack Link’s product in forecourts However, the jerky is available in two other flavours: Sweet & Hot and Teriyaki.

In the United States, you often find jerky products right by the till to cater for impulse purchases but Whelan says the ideal place to merchandise jerky here is on the bagged savoury snacks fixture, alongside crisps and nuts. He also advises using secondary merchandising on clip strips to help drive sales.

simon tuffill

Simon Tuffill,manager at Parkfoot Garage

Selling well

Simon Tuffill, manager at award-winning Spar Parkfoot in West Malling, says: “We’ve had Jack Link’s products sited on fixture for a few months now and they are selling really well in the store. We are stocking three flavours – Hot, Teriyaki and the Original Beef Jerky. These are great high cash profit products.”

To help drive brand awareness, Jack Link’s invests £1.5m on an annual basis into media, as well as sampling at festivals and gaming events. Says Whelan: “We are increasing category awareness and, as a result, have been performing phenomenally well.”

Grenade lifestyle

Impulse locations

Luke Morgan, head of convenience and wholesale, at Grenade says one of the main reasons why shoppers don’t pick up a protein bar in-store is because they can’t find them. “Protein bars are an impulse purchase, so merchandise your range in an impulse location where shoppers are looking for their snacks, often best alongside confectionery,” he says.

“And use pos to help the shopper find the fixture. Shelf strips and aisle fins are a great way to showcase the range and help a shopper find what they are looking for.”

He adds that staying up to date with the best-selling new flavours is vital too. “Grenade Oreo White protein bar has fast become as popular as its Grenade Oreo Milk counterpart so ensure you are offering these new products to shoppers.”

Following the success of its range of protein bars, flapjacks and supplements, sports nutrition brand, Warrior, is expanding its portfolio with the launch of the Warrior Protein Cookie.

The soft-baked cookie contains 15g of protein and only 2.8g of sugar, and comes in three flavours: Double Chocolate, Raspberry & White Chocolate and Salted Caramel.

Kieran Fisher, founder of Warrior and KBF Enterprises, comments: “We are confident this new addition will excite new and existing customers and further solidify our position as leaders in the healthy snacking market, reaching an ever-growing demographic of customers looking for healthy and convenient snacks that offer something unique.”

made for drink

Great with beer

Another product that boasts being protein rich is Iberian Pork Chicharrones from Made for Drink. Company founder Dan Featherstone says: “Traditionally in the UK a pork scratching is a full-bodied, intensely flavoured treat that requires some significant jaw work. My inclination was to build upon our strong Spanish ties forged during the creation of our award-winning Chorizo Thins and use highly-prized Iberian pork. By adopting the Spanish preference for cooking the pork rind twice, the second time at a much higher temperature, the pork skin inflates, taking on an altogether more airy, melty texture.”

Designed to be eaten alongside a beer, the Iberian Port Chicharrones are available from wholesaler Cotswold Fayre. They are available in two x 12 pack clip strips (24 per case). Rrp is £1.50 per 25g bag.


Gut health gains awareness

When it comes to healthier snacks, protein is not the only ingredient consumers are interested in. Shane Nimmo,convenience controller at Biotiful Gut Health, says they have seen a notable increase in the consumption of kefir as general awareness of the importance of gut health has grown.

“This has translated into significant sales of Biotiful across impulse channels. With 40% of UK adults now motivated to make healthier life choices (UK Gov), healthy snacking is not just a transient phase, but something that looks set to stay. In fact, the UK healthy snacking market is now growing at 15% (IRI data), and this shows no signs of abating. Furthermore, total convenience healthy yogurts are growing at 48% in value and 39% in volume (IRI).”

Nimmo says the heightened awareness of the importance of good gut health has driven the way consumers choose to snack and influences the types of products they buy.

“So much more is known now about the impacts of poor gut health, the benefits of looking after your gut microbiome, and the role that Kefir can play in improving gut health, so we have seen this extend to snacking.

“Consumers now want to be able to snack on something that is convenient, nutritious and tastes good too. At the same time, consumers are unwilling to compromise on other product attributes – they want snacks to deliver added health benefits too. Our Biotiful Kefir products are a great source of fibre and are either low in sugar, or with no added sugar. And of course, taste remains key – so we ensure that all our Biotiful Gut Health products taste fantastic.”

Nimmo believes that kefir and protein are reshaping the convenience yogurt landscape. “Sales of Kefir within convenience have doubled in the last three years, experiencing a 40% surge in value and a 21% boost in volume (IR).

“We listen carefully to what our consumers want to see, and this is reflected in the types of products we offer. With regular innovation and a flow of new SKUs and flavours, Biotiful Gut Health proudly stands as the UK’s number onekefir brand (IRI).


Nice and spicy

In the traditional crisps and snacks arena, spicy flavours are still very popular. At Envis Snacks, Curly Mexican has been brought back to the UK.

Director Andy Brown says: “With their hot flavour profile they are really hitting the spot with UK consumers. They come in great value 100g bags that really help drive sales, especially when merchandised alongside Curly Classic.

“We are also excited to announce that we are bringing Crunchips Red Chilli X-cut in 75g bags to the UK for the first time so look out for them soon.”

Meanwhile, Kurkure, one of the biggest snack brands in India and Pakistan, which was launched in the UK in 2021, added a new Chilli Chatka to its range late last year. The launch follows the success of Kurkure’s Masala Munch and Naughty Tomato flavours, which gained a combined £723m in value sales in 2022 (Nielsen).

Ekaterina Petrova, senior brand manager at Kurkure says: “Kurkure aims to celebrate the diversity of Britain while authentically representing the rich heritage of Asian cuisine and Kurkure Chilli Chatka is the perfect addition to our portfolio due to its punchy flavour profile. Having already established itself as a well-loved brand abroad, Kurkure is poised to tap into the growing appetite for new textures and strong flavours.”

KP Snacks is renowned for its ‘big’ flavours. Last year it launched McCoy’s Epic Eats in Nacho Cheese and Spicy Salsa and in December added Chip Shop Curry Sauce and Bangin’ BBQ flavours in price-marked packs.

Matt Collins, trading director at KP Snacks, says: “Taste is the number one category driver in crisps, snacks and nuts,and the new McCoy’s Epic Eats SKUs deliver big, bold flavours from the UK’s number one ridged crisp brand. The Chip Shop Curry Sauce variant brings a unique and tempting flavour to the CSN category, while Bangin’ BBQ offers a consumer favourite with a real flavour punch.

KP’s latest launch is the expansion of its Nik Naks range with the Rib ‘N’ Saucy variant available in a 45g Grab Bag, rrp £1. Rolling into stores from the end of this month, the new launch capitalises on the popularity of Nik Naks as KP Snacks’ fastest-growing brand in 2023 (+47.2% year-on-year - Nielsen) and number one Everyday Value brand.

The new launch combines the success of Rib ‘N’ Saucy as the second most popular Nik Naks flavour, worth nearly £12m (Nielsen), and the Grab Bag format which continues to perform well within forecourts.

Collins says: “We are committed to delivering great tasting products and value to our consumers, while also offering the right products in the right formats to drive core ranges and sales for our retail trade partners.”