Nestlé’s Sweet Earth moves into snacking aisle with plant-based jerky

2 Jun 2021

Nestlé-owned Sweet Earth Foods has a new plant-based jerky on supermarket shelves that come in two flavors: Spicy Kung Pao Jerky and Sweet Korean BBQ. While the Kung Pao flavor is now on sale, the company announced that the Sweet Korean variety will be available later in 2021. Each package of the wheat gluten-based jerky contains 13g of protein and no artificial flavors or coloring.

This product release marks the first time that Sweet Earth has stepped out of the frozen section and entered the snacking aisle. However, as the snackification of mealtime continues to be on-trend and more people return to a post-lockdown lifestyle that necessitates on-the-go options, this move is likely to be a beneficial one.

Nestlé’s Sweet Earth moves into snacking aisle with plant-based jerky

IRI data cited in the press release noted that demand for jerky products rose 20% during the pandemic while plant-based jerky has seen even more substantial growth, jumping 38% since 2018. A major driver behind this demand is increasing interest from a growing number of meat eaters who are looking to substitute more plant-based products into their diets.

"Our new plant-based jerky addresses flexitarian consumers' need for a convenient, on-the-go source of plant protein," Sweet Earth’s general manager Sara Wheeler said in a statement.

This jerky product is Sweet Earth’s initial bid at tapping into the snack market. Sweet Earth’s current product lineup is more meal-focused with options like bows, burritos and burgers available in pre-packaged portions. While meals came back into vogue during the pandemic as people were forced to stay home to eat, snacking never really lost its appeal. In fact, in Mondelez International’s second State of Snacking report released in November 2020, data showed that consumers considered snacking a "lifeline” with 88% admitting to snacking more or the same as they did prior to the appearance of COVID-19.

Nor is Sweet Earth the only company that is looking to take a bite out of the snacking sector. From PepsiCo and Mondelez to dozens of startups, snacking has become big business, and many are focusing on plant-based jerky as the next target. Already Gardein and Krave have plant-based jerky options as well as Moku Foods and Noble Jerky.

With such a substantial amount of competition already in the aisle, Sweet Earth is going to have a challenging road ahead if it wants to make any headway. At the same time, the brand has built up a substantial following in the frozen aisle, so there is a possibility that loyal customers will choose to try their plant-based jerky because they are familiar with the products that Sweet Earth produces.

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