TORONTO — Meat-based snacks are all the rage lately, with Hormel Foods, Kraft Foods and Hillshire Brands all developing new offerings during the past year. Now Maple Leaf Foods, Inc. is throwing its hat into the ring with the launch of Protinis.

Currently available only in Canada, the new line of products is available in eight varieties, including: chicken and superfruit, which combines pieces of roasted chicken with blueberries and cranberries; oven roasted chicken; chicken and cranberries; mild salsa chicken; chicken and mango; honey garlic chicken; chicken apple; and sweet Thai chili chicken.

“We wanted to give consumers a smart and satisfying snacking option,” said Chantal Butler, vice-president of marketing for Maple Leaf Foods. “By introducing Protinis, we are offering Canadians a revolutionary, nutritious complete protein snack unlike anything currently in Canada.”

Other offerings in the meat snack category include Hormel Foods’ REV wraps, Kraft Foods Group’s P3 line, and the Hillshire Brands’ soon-to-be-released Hillshire Snacking line. All of the products are designed to fill a need for consumer demand for on-the-go protein options.

“Complete protein contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs and cannot produce on its own,” said Sue Mah, a registered dietitian. “Some examples of foods with complete protein are milk, eggs, fish, meat and poultry, like the oven-roasted chicken bites in Protinis. This type of protein helps slow down the digestion of food, keeping you feeling fuller, longer, and protein snacking can support physical activity and weight management goals by building and repairing muscles and tissues.”

To support its launch, Maple Leaf Foods cited data from a Harris Decima survey that showed 52% of Canadian consumers snack at least twice a day and 71% are seeking healthier snacking options.