KANSAS CITY — Portable protein is in high demand, and meat snack manufacturers are beefing up their portfolios with new flavors and formats to cater to their carnivorous consumers.

Jack Link’s is featuring a flame-grilled preparation in three of its new protein snacks: Flame-Grilled Steakhouse Beef Jerky, Limited-Edition Flame-Grilled Whiskey Glaze Pork Strips and Flame-Grilled Korean BBQ Pork Strip.

Tom Dixon, Jack Link's
Tom Dixon, c.m.o. at Jack Link’s

“Jack Link’s is the portable protein for everyday adventures, and we want each bite to tell its own untamed flavor story,” said Tom Dixon, chief marketing officer at Jack Link’s. “We stay close to market and flavor trends, and with our rapid innovation capabilities and flame-grilled technology, we are able to quickly beef up our portfolio with new flavors, like whiskey, to help our fans fill their innate need to feed their wild sides.”

Also duking it out in the market, Duke’s is launching new flavors of Smoked Shorty Sausages and Steak Strips. The new sausage flavors include Hatch Green Chile, Chorizo & Lime, Hickory Peach BBQ and Tomato Basil, which is made from chicken. They are gluten-free with no added hormones or nitrites and offer 7 grams of protein and zero to 2 grams of sugar per serving. Duke’s Steak Strips, made with grass-fed beef, are now available in Traditional Sea Salt, Chipotle BBQ and Honey Bourbon and contain up to 16 grams of protein and 2 to 5 grams of sugar per serving.

Justin Havlick, Duke's
Justin Havlick, president and founder of Duke’s

“Our new products will really hit home with consumers and deliver exactly what they are looking for in a healthy, premium snack,” said Justin Havlick, president and founder of Duke’s. “Protein is increasingly a driver of purchase with 50% of consumers actively looking for higher protein foods, especially as snacks. Additionally, there is a movement toward real foods with 6 out of 10 consumers claiming that they read labels to make sure that ingredients are simple and recognizable. Six out of 10 consumers also claim that they are actively trying to reduce their sugar intake and many dried meat snacks on the market rely on excessive sugar for flavor, volume and texture. We are excited to be offering a variety of high-protein, low-sugar snack options crafted with high-quality ingredients and authentic flavors.”

Country Archer Jerky Co. is making its way into the meat bar market with its new line of high protein meat-based nutrition bars called The True Bar. Featuring 20 grams of protein per serving, the bars contain no antibiotics or hormones and are free of gluten, soy, artificial ingredients, MSG, nitrites and nitrates. The True Bar is available in three varieties: Cayenne, made with beef and pork; Herb Citrus, made with turkey; and Sweet BBQ, made with pork.

“Just like our existing jerky line, the meat-based protein bars are appealing to consumers as a healthy, Paleo-friendly post-workout snack, so the addition of The True Bar to our product portfolio was a natural progression,” said Eugene Kang, chief executive officer and co-founder of Country Archer. “Protein is essential to a healthy diet, and our new line is an excellent source — 20 grams per serving — for  anyone looking to get their daily dose without the extra calories, sugar or junk. More importantly, it's a product you can feel good about feeding to your family.”

Click for a slideshow of new products