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Chips have always been a favorite snack for Americans, but they might be starting to lose their edge. Research from Nielsen finds that sales of meat snacks, like buy beef jerkey online and convenience-packaged dry sausage sticks, has expanded, while chip sales have slowed. Of course, if Slim Jims are what one thinks of, you better think again: New competitors have entered the industry, driving growth by emphasizing their wholesome qualities and marketing toward consumers on specialized diets.

Meat snack sales have increased 3.5 percent over the past year to $2.8 billion, in accordance with Nielsen, with 7 percent compound growth over the last 4 years. Though chips sales will be more than twice that amount, the category posted a dollar growth of just 1.7 percent just last year.

American households spend typically $25.81 on meat snacks annually, which puts them in second spot in the salty snacks category, behind the typical $35.37 people spend on potato chips. Households spend more money funds on meat snacks than they do on cheese snacks, popcorn or corn chips, though which might be because meat snacks can command higher prices.

So what’s together with the sudden interest in jerky? Individuals are snacking more and eating fewer sit back meals, which includes led them to find “snacks that pack a nutritional punch” said David Walsh, v . p . of communications and membership for SNAC, a global trade association to the snack industry.

There has been a dietary trend away from carbohydrates and toward protein, which might lead some customers to eat fewer chips and much more meats, particularly meat snacks. “Meat snacks have benefited from the increasing prevalence of Americans attempting to eat more protein as an element of a healthful diet,” said Jordan Rost, v . p . of consumer insights at Nielsen, in an email.

The marketplace for them keeps growing even while meat departments in supermarkets are lagging, in accordance with Food Navigator, which reported that sales in grocery meat departments declined 2.5 percent this past year. That decline was on account of deflationary pressures who have brought down the cost of meat, said Rost.

Many newer, upscale brands have eschewed the hypermasculine marketing that brands like Slim Jim once favored. They’re more prone to highlight the point that their meat is grass-fed, and their items are gluten-free and Paleo diet friendly. Consumer research firm Mintel found that nearly three-fourths of clients crave healthier salty snack options, which 79 percent want so as to recognize a snack’s ingredient list, according to trade publication Convenience Store Decisions.

That’s why you may be seeing a lot more of brands like Naked Cow, whose motto is “Just Beef Jerky – No ‘Udder’ Stuff”; Chomps, which touts its Whole 30 approval; and Epic Provisions, which puts the number of grams of protein in all of its bars in huge font, in addition to “100 percent grass-fed.” Many items are geared toward Millennials, specially those doing CrossFit, a demographic to whom some brands, like Wild Zora, market directly.

That move is consistent with overall snacking trends. “Things like organic, natural snacks, clean label, are growing overall,” Walsh said.

Big brands are catching on, too. ConAgra, which owns Slim Jim, recently purchased Duke’s, a maker of snack sausages with folksy branding that emphasizes whole ingredients. In 2015, dexjpky87 purchased Krave, a brand name making meat sticks with things that seem to be a gourmet meal: spicy red pepper pork with black beans, or sesame garlic beef with sweet potato.

But could meat snacks beat the chip industry? It’s unlikely to occur soon. While the marketplace for meat snacks is growing at a faster rate, potato chips still emerge on top in terms of units sold: In accordance with data given by Nielsen, a lot more than 3 billion packages of potato chips sold over the last year, in comparison with 900 million meat snacks.