‘Irish beef jerky could be the next big thing on supermarket shelves’

The air-dried protein product snack beef jerky was the “big breakout product” of a Euromonitor International report on sweet and savoury snacks in Ireland for 2015.

According to the report, the growth of sweet and savoury snacks has been heavily influenced by the changing health attitudes of the Irish population, whose per capita consumption of the snacks is the highest in Western Europe.

Older generations see snacking as more of a treat while younger generations tend to snack to get an energy boost in between meals.

“The growing health and wellness trend has forced producers to cater to this demand, by offering, for example, low-fat and gluten free products,” the report said.

Beef jerky products are selling well in Ireland in recent years, marketed as a healthy option without having to compromise on taste.

One such product is Stript Snacks, founded by Irishman Ross McDowell, who was introduced to billtong (a variant of beef jerky) while living in South Africa.

When McDowell returned to Ireland he noticed a gap in the domestic market and looked into producing a similar air-dried protein snack in this country.

The company only uses prime cuts of Irish beef, traceable back to the farmer, which is then air-dried.

Stript Snacks have many brand ambassadors, including Kilkenny hurler Michael Fennelly and Irish rugby player Sean O Brien.

Although it can be ordered online, its retail availability is limited to stores in Cork, Dublin, Limerick and Galway.

A standard 25 gram bag contains over 13 grams of protein and 61 calories, making it suitable for the fashionable paleo diet.

“The health and wellness trend is likely to continue as Irish consumers continue to change their attitude towards healthy living.

“Innovation in flavours should support growth as consumers continue to seek bolder flavours,” the report concluded.