ATLANTA — Millennials are gobbling up more poultry as a protein source, and turkey consumption has tripled in the last four years, according to market research cited by ConAgra Foods, Inc. These insights drove the development of Slim Jim Turkey Sticks, available in original, barbecue and habanero flavors. Set to start shipping in December, the snacks were unveiled at the NACS Show, held Oct. 18-21 in Atlanta.
“Consumers are looking for exciting and bold flavors; they want to try things that are new and different,” said Adam Beane, senior brand manager. “We are also seeing spicier flavor innovation used to capture the millennial consumer.”
Slim Jim Original is the top selling meat stick variety by unit volume in the category, Mr. Beane said, adding, “Our barbecue and habanero offerings are for consumers looking for a little less or a little more spice than original.”
Convenience stores are an important part of the brand’s business, Mr. Beane said, though he declined to disclose the percentage of Slim Jim’s sales that are generated in the channel.
“The category is certainly getting more competitive, as evidenced by the number of new brands on the shelf,” he added. “Slim Jim has long been a leader in meat snacks, so customers trust us to continue to deliver high-quality offerings to meet consumer needs. We always have and will continue to differentiate ourselves in the mind of the consumer with a broad range of flavors, product innovation and value.
“We work with each specific retailer to maximize their shelving efficiency based on the space available, as well as the consumer demographic of each particular retailer.”
Because most shoppers don’t plan before a trip to a convenience store, creative and enticing in-store displays are part of ConAgra's competitive strategy, Mr. Beane said. For the Slim Jim Turkey Sticks launch, the company will begin shipping countertop displays to convenience stores in February.“The c-store channel is critical to the success of the category and our brand, so we place a great value on the partnerships we have with our c-store retailers and distributors,” Mr. Beane said. “Potential for success in the channel is a top consideration for any new item launch, and this launch was no exception.”