Can Scottish food businesses come up with best-selling plant-based alternatives to high-protein snacks?

Meatless jerky might still be a niche product, but its popularity is on the rise and it could well pay off for Scottish food manufacturers to pay attention to its potential.

High-protein and low-sugar snacks have become a hot on-the-go food sector. A sector that’s seen a growth of 27% in value sales, year-on-year, into late 2018.

Meat snacks, like jerky and biltong, are high in protein, hence their popularity and growth, a year-on-year increase of 7.6%. But what about the vegetarian and vegan markets? Where are the Scottish plant-based alternatives that will also interest the snack-hungry customer?

Healthier snacking

Market research company, Streetbees, recently took a survey of 1,200 British snack consumers. Of those polled, 36% said they were buying more high-protein snacks than a year ago. And 48% said a snack with a high-protein content is very important to them.

There’s still a strong demand for meat snacks, as a natural source of high protein. But many people also have concerns about animal welfare and sustainability. And with many consumers demanding healthier products, you’ve got a customer on the hunt for a more ethically nutritious on-the-go edible. So, what is the plant-based convenience sector likely to grow into?

Meatless jerky market

Jerky is traditionally made from animal products such as beef, chicken or fish. It’s cut into long strips and usually sundried, making it a convenient protein snack. Now vegetarian and vegan jerky options are popping up in the US market. This is challenging the sector to look to ingredients like soy, mushrooms, eggplants, seaweed and fruits, that will widen customer choice.

Plant-based jerky contains natural ingredients, has no added sugar, is low-calorie, but high in protein. Jerky made from mushrooms, soy or eggplants, is usually dehydrated at a low temperature for a long period of time, so that the vitamins and minerals are preserved in the final product. 

Key names in the US meatless jerky market include: Verky Organic Veggie Jerky, Louisville Vegan Jerky, Power Plant Organic Eggplant Jerky, Mindwell, Primal Strips, Meatless Vegan Jerky and Beyond the Shoreline. 

Plant-based jerky hasn't made its way to the UK yet, but as manufacturers innovate with creative plant-based ingredients, we expect this category to grow to meet consumer demand. And the list of names coming out of the US shows the market is diverse and more than open to innovation by Scottish food manufacture

Innovation support for Scottish food and drink companies

If you want to understand the plant-based jerky market in Scotland get in touch with our Make Innovation Happen team. Make Innovation Happen is a single source of innovation support for businesses involved in the Scottish food and drink supply chain.

Scotland Food & Drink, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise work in partnership across academia, the public sector and the industry to deliver a comprehensive innovation support service.

Make Innovation Happen can help your business by providing:

  • Access to 'connectors', who can offer support, advice and mentoring, as well as direction to appropriate support
  • Ideas and insights on how to innovate through articles and events
  • Funding through the Collaborative Innovation Fund
  • Help to access other innovation services provided by Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Interface and others

Looking for innovation support?

Our Make Innovation Happen service can help you improve employee, product and process productivity.