“It’s how we grew from where we were in those humble beginnings to where we are at today.
“That's how Jack Link took the company from the 1980s to
where we are today. He never wavered (on quality) and none of us
did either. To us, it's all about ensuring we protect the brand, protect our consumer and deliver high quality products every time.”
Beef, Turkey, Chicken, Jerky, Sticks, Steaks
Jack Link’s product line presently includes more than 100 items
that can be found at retail outlets in more than 40 countries.
Jack Link's product lines includes beef jerky, turkey jerky,
chicken jerky, pork jerky, tender bites (beef, turkey and chicken),
tender cuts, beef steaks, turkey and chicken strips, Small Batch
Handcrafted Beef Jerky, meat sticks, meat & cheese combos, jerky
chew, deli cuts sausage, sausage and chubs, dinner sausage, and
crinkle-cut pepperoni. Jack Link's also has three other brands,
SQUATCH Snack Sticks, World Kitchens Beef Jerky, and MATADOR
In terms of flavors, there is plenty of variety to choose
from, especially when it comes to beef jerky. Current varieties
include Original, Teriyaki, Peppered, Sweet & Hot, Steakhouse,
KC Masterpiece BBQ, Jalapeño, Sriracha, Hickory Smoked and
Cholula. Limited edition Wild Side Flavors include Chili Lime and
Kung Pao. According to Jack Link's Director of Marketing Kevin
Papacek, Teriyaki is the most-popular selling beef jerky flavor. “We
have a constant pipeline of flavor innovation,” Papacek said. “We
look at flavor trends overall in the market and we've continued
to bring new flavors to the market, too. There are consumers out
there that are looking for flavor variety and we continue to bring
that to them.”
Among Jack Link's newer products is Small Batch Handcrafted
Jerky which launched in 2013, and its chicken jerky, which
debuted in early 2015. Small Batch Hickory Bacon Jerky was also
introduced in 2015. Perhaps the biggest addition in recent years
has been the introduction of alternative proteins — in the form of
turkey, chicken and pork jerky — to the company's product portfo-
lio. “It rounds out the portfolio of Jack Link's. We're just not a beef
company, we're a high protein company,” Smith said.
The addition of those alternative proteins speaks to Jack Link's
evolution and commitment to offering consumers new ways to
“I think that grabs a new consumer that has never thought of
snacking on beef jerky, but maybe they are big turkey eaters and
they're going to be like, ‘Oh, turkey jerky, that's another snack I
can have,’” Smith said. “When we can deliver a turkey jerky or a
chicken jerky and some of those items at the same great taste and
still deliver fun, that's a pretty cool experience for them.”
When it comes to introducing new products and new flavors,
Jack Link’s has an in-house research and development team
consisting of a dozen employees. Smith, however, counts the com-
pany's entire workforce as its R&D team.
“There are a lot of great ideas that come from people on those
(production) lines and on those production floors,” said Smith.
“And of course we have a dedicated team where that's all they
do, that's their singular job. We're listening to the consumer, we're
listening to our customer and following hot trends once a new
flavor (such as) Sriracha comes out. It naturally made sense to use
(Sriracha) in jerky, and it was good.”
Papacek said the company is always on the hunt for new fla-
vors to add to the mix.
“Our marketing and product marketing teams work hand in
hand with our R&D (team),” Papacek said. “It all starts with trends
in the marketplace. We start by looking at restaurant trends and
their emerging foods and flavors. We also look at broader food cat-
egories and what's new there.
“We've started to do more consumer research. We go out to
consumers with different flavor ideas and ask them what flavors
are most appealing to them and then they rank those flavors. So
we do get consumer input, too. A lot of it often involves working
with our R&D team and our suppliers to come up with the next,
new flavor. Sometimes it takes some experimentation to come up
with a new flavor. We then test those flavors internally, and what
we feel are the best will go be tested with consumers to see which
ranks highest. That's how we choose which flavors to launch.”
Another Type of Commercial Success
In addition to quality, there is another prominent keyword at
Jack Link’s: fun.
And when it comes to fun, the company has focused on that
avenue when it comes to its marketing approach — particularly
through the iconic Messin' with Sasquatch advertising campaign
that debuted nine years ago.
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