- Slim Jim, owned by Conagra Brands, is launching an upgraded line of meat products called Slim Jim Premium Smoked Sticks, according to PR News Wire. These new snacks will feature 100% grass-fed beef or 100% premium pork with contemporary flavors.
- Each new meat snack will contain at least 10 grams of protein, and have no artificial colors or flavors, and no added MSG. The three flavors introduced in the launch are Smokehouse Original, Thai Style Chili and Memphis Style BBQ.
- The Premium Smoked Sticks will be available at convenience stores and markets nationwide this month. The cost will be $1.79 for a 1.2-ounce individual serving and$4.99 for a 4.1 ounce resealable pack.
Slim Jims, a brand synonymous with meat snacks, is trying to play catch-up in a category it largely created. In the last decade, the gas station staple has gotten stiff competition from upscale upstarts featuring premium ingredients, healthier recipes and trendy flavors from companies such as Hershey's Krave. The question now is if Slim Jim can get away from its long-held reputation and be viewed as a superior product.
Meat snacks have risen in popularity, with sales surging more than 7% in each of the past four years, according to Nielsen data. The Technavio study forecasts the global meat snacks market to grow by about 9% annually through 2021. Consumer interest in protein-focused foods, including snacks, has only helped fuel demand for new products in this category.
Name recognition, typically a highly valued quality, may not help sales of Slim Jim’s Premium Smoked Sticks. The red and black colors used in the packaging of the new product are noticeably different from the red and yellow of the original snack, which may help set it apart.
In addition, it’s cheaper than many of the competing meat snacks and jerkeys on the market. A 1.2-ounce Premium Smoked Stick package sells for $1.79. By contrast, General Mills' Epic Beef Jabanero Cherry bar sells for $2.50, and that’s including the discount you get by buying a box of 12. If a consumer reads the ingredients lists of multiple meat snacks, they may be incentivized to look past the Slim Jim brand to save some money, while still getting a better-for-you product.
This new launch also could appeal to loyal Slim Jim fans who are interested in eating better, but don’t want to give up their favorite foods or snacks. In this respect, the Slim Jim brand name will serve as an asset, reassuring consumers that they can expect the same familiar taste, just with better ingredients.