The name change is part of a broader rebranding to better communicate the brand’s core values of using only premium, clean ingredients as well as product attributes that set Country Archer apart from the competition in the increasingly crowded – and diverse – meat snack segment, Eugene Kang, Country Archer CEO, explained to FoodNavigator-USA.
At the same time, he said, the new Zero Sugar Beef Jerky line answers “a call to arms or challenge” thrown down by the rising popularity of biltong, which touts itself as a cleaner, sugar-free alternative to jerky with a softer chew. The new line also answers consumer demand for more snack options that comply with popular diets, such as keto, paleo, Whole 30 and others that all eschew sugar, he said.
New name, look prime Country Archer for future growth
Country Archer’s new name and look take the brand farther down a path that it started on in 2015 and continued down in 2017 when it last redesigned its packaging. But this time, the brand has introduced more dramatic changes and a bit of flair, which speak to the evolution and expansion of the broader meat snack segment.
For example, when Country Archer first launched its beef jerky line it boldly declared what the product was in large, capitalized letters on the center of the bag. But with the update, the brand replaced the iconic “beef jerky” in the center of the bag with “grass-fed beef jerky” in large font to better highlight what makes its jerky special.
“We were one of the first brands to offer grass-fed beef jerky, but we weren’t really getting the credit. So, now we want to shout and celebrate that across the bag,” Kang said.
The second most prominent change to the packaging is an updated logo, which includes the new name.
“We found that sometimes the brand and the logo were a little bit clouded” by previously used descriptors and images, Kang explained. To make the branding stand out more, the company moved it down the bag slightly and made Archer stand out in much larger font with a stylized A that recalls an arrow moving across a bow. This replaced the image of a teepee that was on the old back, which in turn had previously replaced an illustration of a Native American.
With the logo change, came the aforementioned name change, which Kang said was necessary to better reflect “the diversity of our product offerings currently and moving forward.”
In recent years, the brand moved beyond just jerky to include meat sticks, which Kang said, “play a huge role in our growth in terms of revenue mix.” He added that he name change also will “give us permission to expand beyond just jerky and sticks into other snacking categories that we want to potentially play in down the road.”
Other changes to the bag better highlight the brand’s mission towards sustainability and real ingredients, he noted. For example, the brand replaced illustrations of its ingredients with photos, which Kang said instill a better sense of trust in consumers.
Similarly, the brand kept several key call-outs on the packaging, including the amount of protein and that it is made with no MSG, no nitrites or nitrates, and no added preservatives – all of which are important attributes to the consumer, but which are not adopted by all players in the space, Kang said.
Finally, the brand added a color splash across the bottom of its packaging to help the brand pop on shelf without straying too far from its iconic black matte and whiteboard backgrounds, he said.
“This is a good blend of color that shows product differentiation between flavors, while still paying homage to what effectively got us here today,” he said.
Zero sugar line opens brand to broader consumer set
The simultaneous launch of Country Archer’s new Zero Sugar Beef Jerky line also expands the brand’s reach to new consumers, including those following on-trend diets that forbid sugar, as well as those seeking allergen-friendly options.
Kang explains that in addition to being free of sugar and other sweeteners, including stevia and allulose, the new line also is free of soy – making it more accessible to consumers with allergies.
“A lot of brands in the space use soy sauce as a very umami, rich marinade base,” but as with sugar, most biltong does not include the ingredient, Kang said.
“I think one of the things biltong has going for it is it is so clean and free from all allergens, and we wanted to replicate that, but not be so foreign to the consumer base that doesn’t know what biltong means,” Kang said.
He added that Country Archer is sticking with jerky and not creating a biltong because the latter has “a sort of gameyness to the product that isn’t necessarily virtually accepted. So, we wanted to effectively be that middle ground for consumers who do not necessarily want to go to that far edge and get biltong, but want to get away from sugar and allergens.”
Country Archer will be sampling the new line, which includes Mustard BBQ, Spicy Sesame Garlic and Classic, and showing off its new look at Natural Products Expo West at booth #5083.