SONOMA, CALIF. — Krave Pure Foods, a business unit of the Hershey Co. that is a leader in the premium jerky category, will introduce a meat bar line later this summer, said Shane Chambers, general manager.
“It’s a snack bar format to be merchandised in that set,” Mr. Chambers said in an interview with Food Business News. “It is a very low calorie, high protein choice, and we are doing it in a different way. It is all natural, has no preservatives, and features additional ingredients like fruit and ancient grains, like quinoa.”
Krave is not a first-mover into the meat bar category and will face competition from the likes of Epic Provisions (recently acquired by General Mills), Warrior Bar, Tanka Bar and Caveman Foods. But Mr. Chambers said the new product application is just a start for Krave.
“Protein snacking and meat snacks have broad application,” he said. “We’ve got a pretty exciting pipeline of things we will be doing in different spaces in the store around meat snacks and high protein snacking.”
Krave was founded in 2009 and emerged as a leader in the premium jerky category. What set the company apart from competitors in the category were the unique flavor varieties it offered, such as black cherry barbecue pork, basil citrus turkey and chili lime beef.
In January 2015, Hershey acquired the company for $218.7 million. Despite the acquisition being a departure from the company’s strength in the confectionery space, Hershey said Krave was a good fit as an adjacency in the overall snack category, especially as a company focused on simple ingredients, transparency and portable snacking.
Prior to joining Krave, Mr. Chambers was based in Toronto and working with the Allan Candy Co., another Hershey business unit that was acquired in December 2014. He has since moved to Sonoma and emphasized Hershey plans to leave the business headquartered in Northern California.
“The Sonoma spirit is woven into the fabric of the company,” he said. “So much work goes on in the kitchens around here that influences our culture. It’s a special place to be.”
The meat snacks category has grown significantly, and Mr. Chambers is convinced the growth will continue.
“Consumers are figuring out that meat snacks are a good on-the-go choice,” he said. “Today they are available everywhere; they are channel agnostic, and that’s where I think Hershey can really benefit this business. With our scale and distribution capabilities we are going to be able to make Krave products available everywhere.”