YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Meat and Cookies

BDFrom the Washington Post

September 20, 2000

What's the hottest snack food in the country? Chips? Cookies? Chocolate bars? None of them. Thanks to Atkins and other high-protein diets, it's meat snacks. Think Slim Jim and Turkey Jerky--gas station food.

Sales of meat snacks last year increased more than any other nibble, shooting up a whopping 28.5%, according to a recently released report from the Snack Food Assn. Pork rinds came in second, with an 18% increase in sales last year.

Some of this can be attributed to awareness generated by Dr. Atkins et al., but the meat snack industry has also been launching some high-profile ad campaigns and has gotten better at distribution, says Ann Wilkes, spokeswoman for the SFA. It has also been reaching out to target audiences by sponsoring country-music festivals and extreme sports events.

Even poultry-giant Tyson Foods is jumping into jerky, with Tyson Dried Sausage Sticks currently in test markets. Meat snacks are coming in a range of new flavors, too: mesquite, teriyaki, nacho, Tabasco, pizza and Philadelphia cheese steak. And Shannon Wright, brand manager for Slim Jim, says she's seen just about every kind of meat or fish dried into jerky lately, including ostrich, salmon, tuna and alligator.


At the same time that muffins are mammoth and bagels have ballooned, chocolate-chip cookies are going mini. Everybody, it seems, has a downsized version, including Pepperidge Farm, Famous Amos, Nabisco, Entemann's and Safeway.

"The bottom line is that little cookies are all about making the cookie category more snackable," says John Faulkner, spokesman for Pepperidge Farm, which makes Chocolate Chunk Minis.

Smaller cookies can compete with other one-handed snacks, a must for multi-taskers and people on the go. Mini Chips Ahoy! are for "hand-to-mouth snacking occasions," explains Nabisco spokeswoman Ann Smith.

"Perfect by the handful anytime and anywhere," says the box of Famous Amos mini cookies.

Los Angeles Times Articles